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VOL. I. 






Dear Whitmore, 

volumes to you. As a politician, your course 
has ever been straightforward and consistent, 
and I know no one who brings to the dis- 
charge of his public duties, a mind less biassed 
by prejudice, or more philosophically solicit- 
ous for the attainment of truth. Neither 
mingling in the asperities of party conflict, nor 
descending to those arts by which temporary 
popularity is often purchased at the expense of 



permanent contempt, you have been wisely 
content to rest your claims to the gratitude of 
your country, on a zealous, enlightened, and 
unobtrusive devotion to her best interests. 

Had I been conscious, in what I have written 
of the United States, of being influenced by any 
motive incompatible with perfect fairness of 
purpose, you are perhaps the last person to 
whose judgment I should venture an appeal. 
By no one will the arguments I have advanced 
be more rigidly examined, and the grist of truth 
more carefully winnowed from the chaff of 
sophistry and declamation. For this reason, 
and in testimony of sincere esteem, I now pub- 
licly connect your name with the present work. 
You will at least find in it the conclusions of 
an independent observer ; formed after much 


deliberation, and offered to the world with that 
confidence in their justice, which becomes a 
writer, who, through the medium of the press, 
pretends to influence the opinions of others. 

It was not till more than a year after my re- 
turn, that I finally determined on publishing 
the result of my observations in the United 
States. Of books of travels in America, there 
seemed no deficiency ; and I was naturally un- 
willing to incur, by the public expression of 
my opinions, the certainty of giving offence to 
a people, of whose hospitality I shall always 
entertain a grateful recollection. I should there- 
fore gladly have remained silent, and devoted 
those hours which occasionally hang heavy on 
the hands of an idle gentleman, to the produc- 
tions of lighter literature, which, if not more 



attractive to the reader, would certainly have 
been more agreeable to the taste and habits of 
the writer. 

But when I found the institutions and ex- 
perience of the United States deliberately quo- 
ted in the reformed Parliament, as affording- 
safe precedent for British legislation, and learn- 
ed that the drivellers who uttered such nonsense, 
instead of encountering merited derision, were 
listened to with patience and approbation, by 
men as ignorant as themselves, I certainly did 
feel that another work on America was yet 
wanted, and at once determined to undertake 
a task which inferior considerations would pro- 
bably have induced me to decline. 

How far, in writing of the institutions of a 
foreign country, I may have been influenced 

by the prejudices natural to an Englishman, I 
presume not to determine. To the impartial- 
ity of a cosmopolite I make no pretension. No 
man can wholly cast off the trammels of habit 
and education, nor escape from the bias of that 
multitude of minute and latent predilections, 
which insensibly aifects the judgment of the 

But apart from such necessary and acknow- 
ledged influences, I am aware of no prejudice 
which could lead me to form a perverted esti- 
mate of the condition, moral or social, of the 
Americans. I visited their country with no an- 
tipathies to be overcome ; and I doubt not you 
can bear testimony that my political sentiments 
were not such, as to make it probable that I 
would regard with an unfavourable eye the 


popular character of their government. In the 
United States I was received with kindness, 
and enjoyed an intercourse at once gratifying 
and instructive, with many individuals for whom 
I can never cease to cherish the warmest sen- 
timents of esteem. I neither left England a 
visionaiy and discontented enthusiast, nor did 
I return to it a man of blighted prospects and 
disappointed hopes. In the business or ambi- 
tions of the world I had long ceased to have 
any share. I was bound to no party, and 
pledged to no opinions. I had visited many 
countries, and may therefore be permitted to 
claim the possession of such * advantages as 
foreign travel can bestow. 

Under these circumstances, I leave it to the 
ingenuity of others to discover by what probable 


— what possible temptation, I could be induced 
to write in a spirit of unjust depreciation of the 
manners, morals, or institutions of a people so 
intimately connected with England, by the ties 
of interest, and the affinities of common an- 

It has been said by some one, that the 
narrative of a traveller is necessarily a book 
of inaccuracies. I admit the truth of the 
apophthegm, and only claim the most favour- 
able construction for his mistakes. The range 
of a traveller's observations must generally be 
limited to those peculiarities which float, as it 
were, on the surface of society. Of the " sunken 
treasuries" beneath, he cannot speak. His 
sources of information are always fallible, and 
at best he can appeal only to the results of an 


imperfect experience. A great deal which ne- 
cessarily enters into his narrative, must be 
derived from the testimony of others. In the 
common intercourse of society, men do not 
select their words with that scrupulous preci- 
sion which they use in a witness-box. Details 
are loosely given and inaccurately remembered. 
Events are coloured or distorted by the parti- 
alities of the narrator ; minute circumstances 
are omitted or brought into undue prominence, 
and the vast and varied machinery by which 
truth is manufactured into fallacy is continually 
at work. 

From the errors which I fear must still con- 
stitute the badge of all our tribe, I pretend to 
no exemption. But whatever be the amount of 
its imperfections, the present work is offered to 


the world without excuse of any sort, for I 
confess my observations have led to the con- 
clusion, that a book requiring apology is rarely 
worth it. 

Ever, Dear Whitmore, 

Very truly yours, 

T. H. 

R\DALy nth July, 1833. 



Chat. I. — Voyage — New York 


II. —New York . . 


Ill New York— Hudson River 


IV.— New York 




VI. — Voyage — Providence — Boston 


VII.— Boston 


VIII — New England .... 


IX.— New York 


X Philadelphia .... 


XI — Philadelphia .... 





On the morning of the 1 6th of October, I embarked 
at Liverpool, on board of the American packet ship, 
New York, Captain Bennet, bound for the port of 
the same name. There were twenty-six passengers 
on board, and though the accommodations were ex- 
cellent, the cabin, as might be expected, was some- 
what disagreeably crowded. Our party consisted of 
about fifteen or sixteen Americans, some half-dozen 
countrymen of my own, two or three English, a 
Swiss, and a Frenchman. 

VOL. I. A 


Though the elements of this assemblage were he- 
terogeneous enough, I have great pleasure in remem- 
bering that the most perfect harmony prevailed on 
board. To myself, the whole of my fellow-passen- 
gers were most obliging; and for some I contracted 
a regard, which led me to regret that the period of 
our arrival in port, was likely to bring with it a last- 
ing cessation of our intercourse. 

ll^.e miseries of a landsman on board of ship, have 
afforded frequent matter for pen and pencil. At 
best, a sea voyage is a confinement at once irksome 
and odious, in which the unfortunate prisoner is 
compelled for weeks, or months, to breathe the taint- 
ed atmosphere of a close and crowded cabin, and to 
sleep at night in a sort of box, about the size of 
a coffin for " the stout gentleman." At woi^st, it 
involves a complication of the most nauseous evils 
that can afflict humanity, — an utter prostration of 
power, both bodily and mental, — a revulsion of the 
whole corporeal machinery, accompanied by a host 
of detestable diagnostics, which at once convert a 
well-dressed and well-favoured gentleman, into an 


object of contempt to himself, and disgust to those 
around him. 

Such are a few of the joys that await a landsman, 
whom evil stars have led to "go down to the sea in 
ships, and occupy his business in the great waters." 
With regard to sailors, the case is different, but not 
much. Being seasoned vessels, they are, no doubt, 
exempt from some of those evils, and completely 
hardened to others, which are most revolting to a 
landsman. But their Pandora's box can afford to 
lose a few miseries, and still retain a sufficient stock 
of all sizes, for any reasonable supply. It may be 
doubted, too, v/hether the most ardent sailor was 
ever so hallucinated by professional enthusiasm, as 
to pitch his Paradise — wherever he might place his 
Purgatory — afloat. 

On board of the New York, however, I must say, 
that our sufferings were exclusively those arising 
from the elements of air and water. Her accom- 
modations were admirable. Nothing had been ne- 
glected which could possibly contribute to the com- 
fort of the passengers. In another respect, too, we 
were fortunate. Our commander had nothing about 


him, of " tlie rude and boisterous captain of the sea." 
In truth. Captain Ben net was not only an adept in all 
professional accomplishment, but, in other respects, 
a person of extensive information; and I confess, it 
was even with some degree of pride, that I learned 
he had received his nautical education in the Bri- 
tish navy. Partaking of the strong sense we all 
entertained, of his unvarying solicitude for the com- 
fort of his passengers, I am happy also to profess 
myself indebted to him, for much valuable informa- 
tion relative to the country I was about to visit. 

Among the passengers were some whose eccentri- 
cities contributed materially to enliven the mono- 
tony of the voyage. The most prominent of these 
was a retired hair-dresser from Birmingham, inno- 
cent of all knowledge unconnected with the wig- 
block, who, having recently married a young wife, 
was proceeding, accompanied by his fair rib, with 
the romantic intention of establishing themselves in 
'* some pretty box," in the back- woods of America. 
As for the lady, she was good-lookiug, but, being 
somewhat gratuitously solicitous to barb the arrows 
of her charms, her chief occupation during the voy- 


age, consisted in adorning her countenance with such 
variety of wigs of different colours, as unquestion- 
ably did excite the marvel, if not the admiration, of 
the passengers. The billing and cooing of this in- 
teresting couple, however, though sanctioned by the 
laws of Hymen, became at lengtli so public and ob- 
trusive, as, in the opinion of the other ladies, to de- 
mand repression ; and a request was consequently 
made, that they would be so obliging for the future, 
as to reserve their mutual demonstrations of attach- 
ment, for the privacy of their own cabin. 

Among the passengers too, was Master Burke, 
better known by the title of the Irish Roscius, who 
was about to cross the Atlantic with his father and 
a French music-master, to display his talents on a 
new field. Though not much given to admire those 
youthful prodigies, who, for a season or two, are 
puffed into notice, and then quietly lapse into very 
ordinary men, I think there can be no question 
that young Burke is a very wonderful boy. Barely 
eleven years old, he was already an accomplished 
and scientific musician, played the violin with first- 
rate taste and execution, and in his impersonations 


of character, displayed a versatility of power, and a 
perception of the deeper springs of human action, 
almost incredible in one so young. But independ- 
ently of all this, he became, by his amiable and 
obliging disposition, an universal favourite on board ; 
and when the conclusion of our voyage brought 
with it a general separation, I am certain the boy 
carried with him the best wishes of us all, that he 
might escape injury or contamination in that peri- 
lous profession, to which his talents had been thus 
early devoted. 

We sailed from Liverpool about one o'clock, and 
in little more than an hour, were clear of the Mersey. 
On the morning following we were opposite the Tus- 
kar rocks, and a run of two days brought us fairly 
out into the Atlantic. Then bidding farewell to the 
bold headlands of the Irish coast, with a flowing 
sheet we plunged forward into the vast wilderness 
of waters, which lay foaming before us, and around. 
For the first week, all the chances were in our 
favour. The wind, though generally light, was fair, 
and the New York — celebrated as a fast sailer — with 
all canvass set, ran down the distance gallantly. 


But, on the seventh clay, our good fortune was at au 
end. The wind came on boisterous and adverse, and 
our progress for the next fortnight was compara- 
tively small. Many of the party became affected 
with sea-sickness, and the hopes, to which our early 
good fortune had given rise, of a rapid passage, were 
— as other dearer hopes have been by us all, — slowly, 
but unwillingly, relinquished. 

We were yet some five hundred miles to the east- 
ward of the banks of Newfoundland, when, on the 
23d day, our spirits were again gladdened by a fair 
wind. Then it was that the New York gave unques- 
tionable proof that her high character was not un- 
merited. In the six folio wing days we ran down 
fifteen hundred miles, and the evening of the twenty- 
eighth day, found us off Sandy Hook, which forms 
the entrance to the Bay of New York. 

Our misfortunes, however, were not yet at an end. 
When within a few hours' sail of port, our progress 
was arrested for four days, by a dense fog. Four 
more disagreeable days, I never passed. Sun, moon, 
stars, earth, and ocean, lay hid in impenetrable va- 
pour, and it was only by the constant use of the 


lead, that the ship could move in safety. The air we 
breathed seemed changed into a heavier element; 
we felt like men suddenly smitten with blindness, 
and it almost seemed, as if the time of chaos had 
come again, when darkness lay brooding on the 
face of the deep. The effect of this weather on the 
spirits of us all, was very remarkable. Even the 
most jovial of the party became gloomy and morose. 
Conversation languished, and the mutual benevo- 
lence with which we had hitherto regarded each 
other, had evidently sustained a diminution. 

At length, when our patience, hourly sinking, had 
nearly reached zero, a favourable change took place. 
About noon on the 17th of November, the mist sud- 
denly rolled upward like a curtain, and with joyful 
eyes we beheld the coast of New Jersey outstretched 
before us. Towards ev^ening, we received a pilot, 
and were visited by several boats employed by the 
proprietors of the New York newspapers, to procure 
the earliest intelligence from vessels in the offing. 
The avidity for news of all kinds, displayed both by 
these visitors and the American passengers, was 
rather amusing. 


Numerous questions were interchanged, relative 
to politics and dry goods, shipping and shippers, 
freights and failures, corn, cotton, constitutions, and 
commissions. Though in this sort of traffic, as in 
all others, there was value given on both sides, yet 
it struck me, that a sincere desire to oblige was 
generally apparent. Every one seemed happy to 
enter on the most prolix details for the benefit of 
his neighbour; and the frequent repetition of the 
same question, appeared by no means to be attended 
with the usual consequences on the patience of the 
person addressed. I certainly could detect nothing 
of that dogged, and almost sullen brevity, with 
which, I take it, the communications of English- 
men, in similar circumstances, would have been 
marked. No one seemed to grudge the trouble ne- 
cessary to convey a complete comprehension of facts 
or opinions to the mind of his neighbour, nor to 
circumscribe his communications, within the limits 
necessary to secure the gratification of his own 

We passed Sandy Hook in the night, and, on 
coming on deck in the morning, were greeted with 


one of the most beautiful prospects I had ever be- 
held. We were then passing the Narrows; Long 
Island on one side, Staten Island on the other, a 
finely undulating country, hills covered with wood, 
agreeably interspersed with villas and cottages, and 
New York on its island, with its vast forest of ship- 
ping, looming in the distance. 

Such are some of the more prominent features of 
the scene, by which our eyes were first gladdened, 
on entering the American waters. A more glorious 
morning never shone from the heavens. All around 
was bathed in a flood of sunshine, which seemed 
brighter when contrasted with the weather under 
which we had so recently suffered. 

I am not aware, that there is any thing very fine 
in the appearance of New York, when seen from the 
bay, but, taken in conjunction with the surrounding 
scenery, it certainly forms a pleasing feature in the 
landscape. The city stands on the southern extre- 
mity of York Island, and enlarging in latitude as it 
recedes from the apex of a triangle, stretches along 
the shores of the Hudson and East Rivers, far as 
the eye can reacli. On the right are the heights of 


Brooklyn, which form part of Long Island ; and 
across the broad waters of the Hudson, the view is 
terminated on the left by the wooded shore of New 

But whatever may be the pictorial defects or 
beauties of New York, it is almost impossible to con- 
ceive a city, better situated for commerce. At no 
season of the year, can there be any obstruction in its 
communication with the ocean ; and with a fine and 
navigable river, stretching for nearly two hundred 
miles into the interior of a fertile country, it pos- 
sesses natural advantages of no common order. In 
extent of trade and population, I believe New York 
already exceeds every other city of the Union ; 
and unquestionably it is yet very far from having 
gathered all its greatness. 

The scene, as we approached the quay, became 
gradually more animated. Numerous steam-vessels, 
and boats of all descriptions, were traversing the 
harbour ; and the creaking of machinery, and the 
loud voices which occasionally reached us from the 
shore, gave evidence of activity and bustle. About 
twelve o'clock the ship reached her mooring, and in 


half an hour I was safely housed in Bunker's Hotel, 
where I had heen strongly recommended to take up 
my residence. A young American accompanied me 
to the house, and introduced me to the landlord, 
who, after some miscellaneous conversation, produ- 
ced a book, in which I was directed to enrol my 
name, country, and vocation. This formality being 
complied with, a black waiter was directed to con- 
vey such of my baggage as I had been permitted to 
bring ashore, to an apartment, and I found myself 
at liberty to ramble forth, and gratify my curiosity 
by a view of the town. 

In visiting a foreign city, a traveller — especially 
an English one — usually expects to find, in the aspect 
of the place and its inhabitants, some tincture of the 
barbaric. There is something of this, though not a 
great deal, at New York. The appearance of the 
population, though not English, is undoubtedly 
nearer to it than that of any city on the continent 
of Europe ; and but for the number of blacks and 
people of colour, one encounters in the streets, there 
is certainly little to remind a traveller that the 
breadth of an ocean divides him from Great Britain. 


The fashions of dress generally adopted by the weal- 
thier classes are those of Paris and London ; and the 
tastes and habits of the people, so far as these appear 
on the surface, bear a strong resemblance to those 
of his countrymen. Minute differences, however, 
are no doubt apparent at the first glance. The aspect 
and bearing of the citizens of New York, are cer- 
tainly very distinguishable from any thing ever seen 
in Great Britain. They are generally slender in 
person, somewhat slouching in gait, and without 
that openness of countenance and erectness of de- 
portment to which an English eye has been accus- 
tomed. Their utterance, too, is marked by a pecu- 
liar modulation, partaking of a snivel and a drawl, 
which, I confess, to my ear, is by no means laudable 
on the score of euphony. 

Observations of a similar character, are as appli- 
cable to the city, as to its inhabitants. The frequent 
intermixture of houses of brick and framework, was 
certainly unlike any thing I had ever seen in Eu- 
rope ; and the New-Yorkers have inherited from 
their Dutch ancestors the fashion of painting their 
houses of a bright colour, which produces an agree- 


able effect, and gives to the streets an air of 
gaiety and lightness wliicli could not otherwise 
have been attained. The prominent defect of the 
city, is a want of consistency and compactness, 
in the structure even of the better streets. There 
are some excellent houses in them all, but these 
frequently occur in alternation with mere hovels, 
and collections of rubbish, which detract materially 
from the general effect. But the general aspect of 
New York is unquestionably pleasing. It is full, 
even to overflow, of business and bustle, and crowded 
with a population devoting theii' whole energies, to 
the arts of money-getting. Such were the first im- 
pressions I received in New York. 

Having gratified my curiosity with a cursory view 
of the chief streets, my obliging companion conducted 
me to the Custom-house, in order to procure a permit 
for landing my baggage. On arriving there, I was 
rather surprised to find, that the routine observed, in 
such matters in this republican, country, is in fact 
more vexatious, than in England. In New York, you 
are first required to swear that the specification 
given of the contents of your boxes is true; and 


then, as if no reliance were due to your oath, the 
officers proceed to a complete search. To the search, 
however troublesome, unquestionably no objection 
can be made ; but it does appear to be little better 
than an insulting mockery, to require an oath to 
which all credit is so evidently denied. The proverb 
says, that " at lovers' vows Jove laughs ;" and if, in 
America, the deity is supposed to extend his merri- 
ment to Custom-house oaths, it surely would be 
better to abolish a practice, which, to say nothing of 
the demoralizing influence it cannot fail to exert, is 
found to have no efficacy in the prevention of fraud. 
Certainly in no country of Europe is it usual to 
require an oath, in cases where it is not received as 
sufficient evidence of the fact deposed to ; and why 
the practice should be difl'erent, under a government 
so popular as that of the United States, it would be 
difficult to determine. 

Custom-house regulations, however, are matters 
on which most travellers are given to be censorious. 
In truth, I know nothing so trying to the equa- 
nimity of the mildest temper, as the unpleasant cere- 
mony of having one's baggage rummaged over by 


the rude fists of a revenue-officer. It is in vain 
reason tells us, that this impertinent poking into 
our portmanteaus is just and proper; that the pri- 
vilege is reciprocal between nations, each of which 
necessarily enjoys the right, of excluding altogether 
articles of foreign manufacture, or of attaching such 
conditions to their importation, as it may see fit. 
All this is very true, but the sense of personal indig- 
nity cannot be got over. There is nothing of national 
solemnity at all apparent in the operation. The in- 
vestigator of our property is undistinguished by any 
outward symbol of executive authority. It requires 
too great an effort of imagination, to regard a dirty 
Custom-house searcher, as a visible impersonation of 
the majesty of the law; and in spite of ten thousand 
unanswerable reasons to the contrary, we cannot 
help considering his rigid examination of our cloak- 
bag and shaving-case, rather as an act of individual 
audacity, than the necessary and perfunctory dis- 
charge of professional duty. In short, the searcher 
and searchee stand to each other in the relation of plus 
and minus, and the latter has nothing for it, but to 
put his pride in his pocket, and keep down his choler 


as best he can, with the complete knowledge that 
being pro tern, in the hands of the Philistines, the 
smallest display of either could only tend to make 
things worse. It is alwaj^s my rule, therefore, when 
possible, to avoid being present at the scene at all ; 
and having, on the present occasion, given directions 
to my servant, to await the business of inspection, 
and afterwards to convey the baggage to the hotel, 
I again committed myself to the guidance of some 
of my American friends, and commenced another 
ramble through the city. 

As we passed, many of the signs exhibited by the 
different shops struck me as singular. Of these, 
" Dry Good Store," words of which I confess I did 
not understand the precise import, was certainly the 
most prevalent. My companions informed me that 
the term dry goods is not, as might be supposed, 
generally applicable to merchandise devoid of mois- 
ture, but solely to articles composed of linen, silk, or 
woollen. " Coffin Warehouse," however, was suf- 
ficiently explanatory of the nature of the commerce 
carried on within ; but had it been otherwise, the 
sight of some scores of these dismal commodities, 



arranged in sizes, and ready for immediate use, 
would have been comment enouofli. " Flour and 
Feed Store," and " Oyster Refectory," were 
more grateful to the eye and the imagination. 
" Hollow Ware, Spiders, and Fire Dogs," seem- 
ed to indicate some novel and anomalous traffic, and 
carried with it a certain dim and mystical sublimity, 
of which I shall not venture to divest it, by any 
attempt at explanation. 

I was amused, too, with some of the placards which 
appeared on the walls. Many of these were politi- 
cal, and one in particular was so unintelligible, as to 
impose the task of a somewhat prolix commentary 
on my friends. It ran thus, in sesquipedalian cha- 


When the sphere of my intelligence became 
enlarged with regard to this affiche, I learned, that 
*' going the whole hog" is the American popular 
phrase for Radical Reform, and is used by the De- 
mocratic party to distinguish them from the Federal- 
ists, who are supposed to prefer less sweeping mea- 


sures, and consequently to go only a part of the inte- 
resting quadruped in question. The Go-thewliole- 
Jioggers, therefore, are politicians determined to fol- 
low out Democratic principles to their utmost extent, 
and with this party, General Jackson is at present an 
especial favourite. The expression, I am told, is of 
Virginian origin. In that State, when a butcher 
kills a pig, it is usual to demand of each customer, 
whether he will " go the whole hog;" as, by such 
extensive traffic, a purchaser may supply his table 
at a lower price, than is demanded of him, whose 
imagination revels ^ivaong prime pieces, to the exclu- 
sion of baser matter. 

Before quitting the ship, it had been arranged 
among a considerable number of the passengers, 
that we should dine together on the day of our arri- 
val, as a proof of parting in kindness and good-fel- 
lowship. Niblo's tavern, the most celebrated eat- 
ing-house in New York, was the scene chosen for 
this amicable celebration. Though a little tired with 
my walks of the morning, which the long previous 
confinement on board of ship had rendered more 
than usually fatiguing, I determined to explore my 



way on foot, and having procured the necessary 
directions at the hotel, again set forth. On my way, 
an incident occurred, which I merely mention to 
show how easily travellers like myself, on their first 
arrival in a country, may be led into a misconcep- 
tion of the character of the people. Ha^ang pro- 
ceeded some distance, I found it necessary to enquire 
my way, and accordingly entered a small grocer's 
shop. " Pray, sir," I said, " can you point out to me 
the way to Niblo's tavern?" The person thus ad- 
dressed was rather a gruff-looking man, in a scratch- 
wig, and for at least half a minute kept eyeing me 
from top to toe without uttering a syllable. " Yes, 
sir, I can," he at length replied, with a stare as 
broad as if he had taken me for the great Katterfel- 
to. Considering this sort of treatment, as the mere 
ebullition of republican insolence, I was in the act 
of turning on my heel and quitting the shop, when 
the man added, " and I shall have great pleasure in 
showing it you." He then crossed the counter, and 
accompanying me to the middle of the street, pointed 
out the land- marks by wbich I was to steer, and 
gave the most minute directions for my guidance. 


I presume that his curiosity in the first instance 
was excited by something foreign in my appear- 
ance ; and that, having once satisfied himself that I 
was a stranger, he became on that account more 
than ordinarily anxious to oblige. This incident 
afforded me the first practical insight into the man- 
ners of the people, and was useful both as a prece- 
dent for future guidance, and as explaining the 
source of many of the errors of former travellers. 
Had my impulse to quit the shop been executed 
with greater rapidity, I should certainly have consi- 
dered this man as a brutal barbarian, and perhaps 
have drawn an unfair inference with regard to the 
manners and character, of the lower orders of society 
in the United States. 

The dinner at Niblo's, — which may be considered 
the London Tavern of New York, — was certainly 
more excellent in point of materiel, than of cookery 
or arrangement. It consisted of oyster soup, shad, 
venison,* partridges, grouse, wild-ducks of diffe- 

* In regard to game, I adopt the nomenclature in common use in the 
United States. It may be as well to state, however, that neither the 
partiidges nor the grouse bear any very close resemblance to the birds of 
the same name in Europe. Their flesh is dry, and comparatively with- 
out flavour. 


rent varieties, and several other dishes less notable. 
There was no attempt to serve this chaotic entertain- 
ment in courses, a fashion, indeed, but little prevalent 
in the United States. Soup, fish, flesh and fowl, 
simultaneously garnished the table ; and the conse- 
quence was, that the greater part of the dishes were 
cold, before the guests were prepared to attack them* 
The venison was good, though certainly very inferior 
to that of the fallow-deer. The wines were excellent, 
the company agreeable in all respects, and altogether 
I do not remember to have passed a more pleasant 
evening, than that of my first arrival at New York. 




I HAD nearly completed my toilet on the morn- 
ing after my arrival, when the tinkling of a large 
bell gave intimation, that the hour of breakfast was 
come. I accordingly descended as speedily as pos- 
sible to the salle a manger, and found a consider- 
able party engaged in doing justice to a meal, which, 
at first glance, one would scarcely have guessed to be 
a breakfast. Solid viands of all descriptions loaded 
the table, while, in the occasional intervals, were 
distributed dishes of rolls, toast, and cakes of buck- 
wheat and Indian corn. At the head of the table, sat 
the landlady, who, with an air of complacent dig- 
nity, was busied in the distribution of tea and coffee. 
A large bevy of negroes were bustling about, mini- 


steriiig with all possible alacrity, to the many wants 
which were somewhat vociferously obtruded on their 
attention. Towards the upper end of the table, I 
observed about a dozen ladies, but by far the larger 
portion of the company were of the other sex. 

The contrast of the whole scene, with that of an 
English breakfast-table, was striking enough. Here 
was no loitering nor lounging; no dipping into 
newspapers; no apparent lassitude of appetite; no 
intervals of repose in mastication ; but all was hurry, 
bustle, clamour, and voracity, and the business of 
repletion went forward, with a rapidity altogether 
unexampled. The strenuous efforts of the company 
were of course, soon rewarded with success. Depar- 
tures, which had begun even before I took my place 
at the table, became every instant more numerous, 
and in a few minutes the apartment had become, 
what Moore beautifully describes in one of his songs, 
*' a banquet-hall deserted." The appearance of the 
table under such circumstances, was by no means 
gracious either to the eye or the fancy. It was 
strewed thickly with the disjecta membra of the enter- 
tainment. Here, lay fragments of fish, somewhat 


unpleasantly odoriferous ; there, the skeleton of a 
chicken ; on the right, a mustard-pot upset, and the 
cloth, passim, defiled with stains of eggs, coffee, gravy 
— but I will not go on with the picture. One nasty 
custom, however, I must notice. Eggs, instead of 
being eat from the shell, are poured into a wine- 
glass, and after being duly and disgustingly churned 
up with butter and condiment, the mixture, accord- 
ing to its degree of fluidity, is forthwith either 
spooned into the mouth, or drunk off like a liquid. 
The advantage gained by this unpleasant process, I 
do not profess to be qualified to appreciate, but I can 
speak from experience, to its sedative effect on the 
appetite of an unpractised beholder. 

My next occupation was to look over my letters of 
introduction. Of these I found above thirty address- 
ed to New York, and being by no means anxious to 
become involved in so wide a vortex of acquaintance, 
I requested one of my American fellow-passengers 
to select such, as, from his local knowledge, he ima- 
gined might prove of more immediate service to a 
traveller like myself. In consequence of this ar- 
rangement, about half the letters with which the 

VOL. I. C 


kindness of my friends liad furnished me, were dis- 
carded, and 1 can truly say, that the very warm 
and obliging reception I experienced from those to 
whom I forwarded introductions, left me no room, 
to regret the A^oluntary limitation of their number. 

Having despatched my letters, and the morning 
being wet, I remained at home, busied in throwing 
together a few memoranda of such matters, as ap- 
peared worthy of record. My labours, however, 
were soon interrupted. Several gentlemen who had 
heard of my arrival through the medium of my 
fellow-passengers, but on whose civility I had no 
claim, did me the honour to call, tendering a wel- 
come to their city, and the still more olbliging offer 
of their services. My letters, too, did not fail of pro- 
curing me a plentiful influx of visitors. Numerous 
invitations followed, and by the extreme kindness of 
my new friends, free admission was at once afforded 
me to the best society in New York. 

The first impression made by an acquaintance 
with the better educated order of American gentle- 
men, is certainly very pleasing. There is a sort of 
republican plainness and simplicity in their address, 


quite in harmony with the institutions of their 
country. An American bows less than an English- 
man ; he deals less in mere conventional forms and 
expressions of civility ; he pays few or no compli- 
ments ; makes no unmeaning or overstrained profes- 
sions ; but he takes you by the hand with a cordia- 
lity which at once intimates, that he is disposed to 
regard you as a friend. Of that higher grace of 
manner, inseparable perhaps from the artificial dis- 
tinctions of European society, and of which even 
those most conscious of its hollowness, cannot 
always resist the attraction, few specimens are of 
course to be found, in a country like the United 
States; but of this I am sure, that such a reception 
as I have experienced in New York, is far more 
gratifying to a stranger, than the farce of ceremony, 
however gracefully it may be performed. 

Perhaps I was the more flattered by the kindness 
of my reception, from having formed anticipations 
of a less pleasing character. The Americans I had 
met in Europe had generally been distinguished by 
a certain reserve, and something even approaching 
to the offensive in manner, which had not contri- 


biitecl to create a prepossession in their favour. It 
seemed, as if each individual were impressed with 
the conviction that the whole dignity of his country- 
was concentered in his person ; and I imagined them 
too much given to disturb the placid current of social 
intercourse, by the obtrusion of national jealousies, 
and the cravings of a restless and inordinate vanity. 
It is indeed highly probable, that these unpleasant 
peculiarities were called into more frequent display, 
by that air of haughty repulsion, in which too 
many of my countrymen have the bad taste to 
indulge ; but even from what I have already seen, I 
feel sure that an American at home, is a very differ- 
ent person from an American abroad. With his foot 
on his native soil, he appears in his true character ; 
he moves in the spliere, for which his habits and 
education have peculiarly adapted him, and sur- 
rounded by his fellow-citizens, he at once gets rid of 
the embarrassing conviction, that he is regarded as 
an individual impersonation of the whole honour of 
the Union. In England, he is generally anxious to 
demonstrate by indifference of manner, that he is 
not dazzled by the splendour which surrounds him, 


and too solicitously forward in denying the validity 
of all pretensions, which he fears the world may 
consider as superior to his own. But in his own 
country, he stands confessedly on a footing with tlie 
highest. His national vanity remains unruffled by 
opposition or vexatious comparison, and his life passes 
on in a dreamy and complacent contemplation of the 
liigh part, which, in her growing greatness, the 
United States is soon to assume, in the mighty drama 
of the world. His imagination is no longer troubled 
with visions of lords and palaces, and footmen in 
embroidery and cocked hats; or if he think of these 
things at all, it is in a spirit far more philosophical, 
than that with which he once regarded them. Con- 
nected with England by commercial relations, by 
community of literature, and a thousand ties, which 
it will still require centuries to obliterate, he cannot 
regard her destinies without deep interest. In the 
contests in which, by the calls of honour, or by the 
folly of her rulers, she may be engaged, the reason of 
an American may be against England, but his heart 
is always with her. He is ever ready to extend to 
her sons, the rites of kindness and hospitality, and is 


more flattered by their praise, and more keenly sen- 
sitive to their censure, than is perhaps quite consist- 
ent with a just estimate, of the true value of either. 
I remember no city which has less to show in the 
way oi Lions than New York. The whole interest 
attaching to it, consists in the general appearance of 
the place; in the extreme activity and bustle which 
is everywliere apparent, and in the rapid advances 
which it has made, and is still making, in opulence 
and population. In an architectural view. New 
York has absolutely nothing to arrest the attention. 
The only building of pretension is the State-House, 
or City-Hall, in which the courts of law hold their 
sittings. In form, it is an oblong parallelogram, 
two stories in height, exclusive of the basement, 
with an Ionic portico of white marble, which instead 
of a pediment, is unfortunately surmounted by a 
balcony. Above is a kind of lantern or pepper-box, 
which the taste of the architect has led him to sub- 
stitute for a dome. From the want of simplicity, the 
effect of the whole is poor, and certainly not impro- 
ved by the vicinity of a very ugly gaol, which might 


be advantageously removed to some less obtrusive 

The Exchange is a petty affair, and unworthy of 
a community so large aud opulent as that of New 
York. With regard to churches, those frequented 
by the wealthier classes are built of stone, but the 
great majority are of timber. Their architecture in 
general is anomalous enough ; and the wooden spires, 
terminating in gorgeous weathercocks, are as gay as 
the lavish employment of the painter's brush can 
make them. 

But the chief attraction of New York is the Broad- 
way, which runs through the whole extent of the 
city, and forms as it were the central line from 
which the other streets diverge to the quays on the 
Hudson and East River. It is certainly a hand- 
some street, and the complete absence of regularity 
in the buildings, — which are of all sizes and materials, 
from the wooden cottage of one story, to the mas- 
sive brick edifice of five or six, — gives to Broadway 
a certain picturesque effect, incompatible, perhaps, 
with greater regularity of architecture. The sides 
are skirted by a row of stunted and miserable-look- 


iiig poplars, useless either for sliade or ornament, 
which breaks the unity of the street without com- 
pensation of any sort. The shops in Broadway are 
the depots of all the fashionable merchandise of the 
city, but somewhat deficient in external attractions, 
to eyes accustomed to the splendour of display in 
Regent Street, or Oxford Road. About two o'clock, 
however, the scene in Broadway becomes one of 
pleasing bustle and animation. The trottoirs are 
then crowded with gaily dressed ladies, and that 
portion of the younger population, whom the absence 
of more serious employment enables to appear in the 
character of beaux. The latter, however, is small. 
From the general air and appearance of the people, 
it is quite easy to gather, that trade in some of its 
various branches, is the engrossing object of every 
one, from the youth of fifteen to the veteran of four- 
score, who, from force of habit, still lags superfluous 
on the Exchange. There are no morning loungers 
in New York ; and the ladies generally walk unat- 
tended; but in the evening, I am told, it is different, 
and the business of gallantry goes on quite as hope- 
fully, as on our side of the water. 


I have observed many countenances remarkable 
for beauty, among tlie more youthful portion of the 
fair promenaders. But unfortunately beauty in this 
climate is not durable. Like " the ghosts of Ban- 
quo's fated line," it comes like a shadow, and so de- 
parts. At one or two-and- twenty the bloom of an 
American lady is gone, and the more substantial 
materials of beauty follow soon after. At thirty the 
whole fabric is in decay, and nothing remains but 
the tradition of former conquests, and anticipations 
of the period, when her reign of triumph will be 
vicariously restored in tlie person of her daughter. 

The fashions of Paris reach even to New York, 
and the fame of Madame Maradan Carson has 
already transcended the limits of the Old World, and 
is diffused over the New. I pretend to be something 
of a judge in such matters, and therefore pronounce 
ex cathedra, that the ladies of New York are well 
dressed, and far from inelegant. The average of 
height is certainly lower than among my fair coun- 
trywomen ; the cheek is without colour, and the 
figure sadly deficient in en-hon-point. But with all 
these disadvantages, I do not remember to have 


seen more beauty than I bave met in New York. 
The features are generally finely moulded, and not 
unfrequently display a certain delightful harmony, 
which reminds one of the Belle Donne of St Peter's 
and the Pincian Mount. The mouth alone is not 
beautiful; it rarely possesses the charm of fine teeth, 
and the lips want colour and fulness. The carriage 
of these fair Americans is neither French nor 
English, for they hav^e the good sense to adopt the 
peculiarities of neither. They certainly do not 
paddle along, with the short steps and affected car- 
riage of a Parisian belle, nor do they consider it 
becoming, to walk the streets with the stride of a 
grenadier. In short, though I may have occasion- 
ally encountered more grace, than has met my 
observation since my arrival in the United States, 
assuredly I have never seen less of external deport- 
ment, which the most rigid and fastidious critic 
could fairly censure. 

One of my earliest occupations was to visit the 
courts of law. In the first I entered, there were two 
judges on the bench, and a jury in the box, engaged 
in tlie trial of an action of assault and battery, com- 


mitted by one female on another. It is scarcely 
possible to conceive the administration of justice 
invested with fewer forms. Judges and barristers 
were both wigless and gownless, and dressed in gar- 
ments of such colour and fashion, as the taste of the 
individual might dictate. There was no mace, nor 
external symbol of authority of any sort, except the 
staves which I observed in the hands of a few con- 
stables, or officers of the court. In the trial there 
was no more interest than what the quarrel of two 
old women, in any country, may be supposed to ex- 
cite. The witnesses, I thought, gave their evidence 
with a greater appearance of phlegm and indifference 
than is usual in our courts at home. No one seemed 
to think, that any peculiar decorum of deportment 
was demanded by the solemnity of the court. The 
first witness examined, held the Bible in one hand, 
while he kept the other in his breeches pocket, 
and, in giving his evidence, stood lounging with his 
arm thrown over the bench. The judges were men 
about fifty, with nothing remarkable in the mode of 
discharging their duty. The counsel were younger, 
and, so far as I could judge, by no means deficient 


either in zeal for tlie cause of their clients, or inge- 
nuity in maintaining it. The only unpleasant part 
of the spectacle, — for I do not suppose that justice 
could be administered in any country with greater 
substantial purity, — was the incessant salivation go- 
ing forward in all parts of the court. Judges, coun- 
sel, jury, witnesses, officers, and audience, all contri- 
buted to augment the mass of abomination ; and the 
floor around the table of the lawyers presented an 
appearance, on which even now I find it not very 
pleasant for the imagination to linger. 

Having satisfied my curiosity in this court, I 
entered another, which I was informed was the 
Supreme Court of the state. The proceedings here 
were, if possible, less interesting than those I had 
already witnessed. The court were engaged in hear- 
ing arguments connected with a bill of exchange, 
and, whether in America or England, a speech on 
such a subject must be a dull aflfair ; I was therefore 
on the point of departing, when a jury, which had 
previously retired to deliberate, came into court, 
and proceeded in the usual form to deliver their ver- 
dict. It was not without astonishment, 1 confess, 


tbat I remarked that three-fourths of the jurymen 
were engaged in eating bread and cheese, and that 
the foreman actually announced the verdict with 
his mouth full, ejecting the disjointed syllables du- 
ring the intervals of mastication ! In truth, an Ame- 
rican seems to look on a judge, exactly as he does on 
a carpenter or coppersmith, and it never occurs to 
him, that an administrator of justice is entitled to 
greater respect than a constructor of brass knockers, 
or the sheather of a ship's bottom. The judge and 
the brazier are paid equally for their work; and 
Jonathan firmly believes, that while he has money 
in his pocket, there is no risk of his suffering from 
the want either of law or warming pans. 

I cannot think, however, that with respect to these 
matters, legislation in this country has proceeded 
on very sound or enlightened principles. A very 
clever lawyer asked me last night, whether the sight 
of their courts had not cured me of my John Bullish 
predilection for robes, wigs, and maces, and all the 
other trumpery and irrational devices, for imposing 
on weak minds. I answered, it had not; nay, so 
far was the case otherwise, that had I before been 


disposed to question the utility of those forms to 
which he objected, what I had witnessed since my 
arrival in New York, would have removed all doubts 
on the subject. A good deal of discussion followed, 
and though each of us persisted in maintaining our 
own opinion, it is only justice to state, that the argu- 
ment was conducted by my opponent with the ut- 
most liberality and fairness. I refrain from giving 
the details of this conversation, because a " proto- 
col" signed only by one of the parties is evidently a 
document of no weight, and where a casuist enjoys 
the privilege of adducing the arguments on both 
sides, it would imply an almost superhuman degree 
of self-denial, were he not to urge the best on his 
own, and range himself on the side of the gods, 
leaving that of Cato to his opponent. 

It is a custom in this country to ask, and generally 
with an air of some triumph, whether an English- 
man supposes there is wisdom in a wig; and whe- 
ther a few pounds of horsehair set on a judge's skull, 
and plastered with pomatum and powder, can be 
imagined to bring with it any increase of knowledge 
to the mind of the person whose cranium is thus dis- 


agreeably enveloped? The answer is, No; we by no 
means hold, either that a head au naturel^ or that gar- 
ments of fustian or corduroy, are at all unfaA^ourable 
to legal discrimination ; and are even ready to ad- 
mit, that in certain genial regions, a judge in ciierpo, 
and seated on a wooden stool, might be as valuable 
and efficient an administrator of law, as one wigged 
to the middle, and clad in scarlet and ermine. But 
whatever American is so deficient in dialectic, as to 
imagine that tliis admission involves a surrender of 
the question in debate, we would beg leave respect- 
fully to remind him, that the schoolmaster is abroad, 
and recommend him to improve his logic with the 
least possible delay. If man were a being of pure 
reason, forms would be unnecessary. But he who 
should legislate on such an assumption, would afford 
ample evidence of his own unfitness for the task. 
Man is a creature of senses and imagination, and 
even in religion, the whole experience of the world 
has borne testimony to the necessity of some exter- 
nal rite, or solemnity of observance, to stimulate his 
devotion, and enable him to concentrate his faculties, 
for the worship of that awful and incomprehensible 


Being, " whose kingdom is, where time and space 
are not." It is difficult to see on what principle, 
those who approve the stole of the priest, and cover 
their generals and admirals with gold lace, can con- 
demn as irrational, all external symbols of dignity, 
on the part of the judge. Let the Americans at all 
events be consistent : While they address their 
judges by a title of honour, let them at least be 
protected from rudeness, and vulgar familiarity ; and 
they may, perhaps, be profitably reminded, that the 
respect exacted in a British court of justice, is ho- 
mage not to the individual seated on the bench, but 
to the law, in the person of its minister. Law is the 
only bond by which society is held together ; its 
administration, therefore, should ever be marked 
out to the imagination, as well as to the reason of 
the great body of a nation, as an act of peculiar and 
paramount solemnity ; and when an Englishman 
sees the decencies of life habitually violated in the 
very seat of justice, he naturally feels the less dis- 
posed to dispense with those venerable forms with 
which, in his own country, it has been wisely en- 
circled. Our answer therefore is, that it is precisely 


to avoid such a state of things as now exists in the 
American courts, that the solemnities which invest 
the discharge of the judicial office in England, were 
originally imposed, and are still maintained. We 
regard ceremonies of all sorts, not as things import- 
ant in themselves, but simply as means conducing 
to an end. It matters not by what particular pro- 
cess ; by what routine of observance ; by what visible 
attributes, the dignity of justice is asserted, and its 
sanctity impressed on the memory and imagination. 
But at least let this end, by some means or other, be 
secured; and if this be done, we imagine there is 
little chance of our adopting many of the forensic 
habits, of our friends on this side of the Atlantic. 

At New York, the common dinner hour is three 
o'clock, and I accordingly hurried back to the hotel. 
Having made such changes and ablutions as the heat 
of the court- rooms had rendered necessary, I de- 
scended to the bar, an apartment furnished with a 
counter, across which supplies of spirits and cigars 
are furnished to all who desiderate such luxuries. 
The bar, in short, is the lounging place of the esta- 
blishment ; and here, when the hour of dinner is at 

VOL. I. D 


hand, the whole inmates of the hotel may be found 
collected. On the present occasion, the room was 
so full, that I really found it difficult to get farther 
than the door. At length a bell sounded, and no 
sooner did its first vibration reach the ears of the 
party, than a sudden rush took place towards the 
diningroom, in which — being carried forward by 
the crowd — I soon found myself The extreme pre- 
cipitation of this movement appeared somewhat 
uncalled for, as there was evidently no difficulty in 
procuring places ; and on looking round the apart- 
ment, I perceived the whole party comfortably 

To a gentleman with a keen appetite, the coup 
fVceil of the dinner- table was far from un pi easing. 
The number of dishes was very great. The style 
of cookery neither French nor English, though cer- 
tainly approaching nearer to the latter, than to the 
former. The dressed dishes were decidedly bad, the 
sauces being composed of little else than liquid 
grease, which, to a person like myself, who have an 
inherent detestation of every modification of olea- 
ginous matter, was an objection altogether in super- 


able. On the whole, however, it would be unjust 
to complain. If, as the old adage hath it, " in the 
multitude of counsellors there is wisdom," so may 
it be averred, as equally consistent with human 
experience, that in the multitude of dishes there is 
good eating. After several unsuccessful experi- 
ments, I did discover unobjectionable viands, and 
made as good a dinner, as the ambition of an old 
campaigner could desire. 

Around, I beheld the same scene of gulping and 
swallowing, as if for a wager, which my observa- 
tions at breakfast had prepared me to expect. In 
my own neighbourhood there was no conversation. 
Each individual seemed to pitchfork his food down 
his gullet, without the smallest attention to the wants 
of his neighbour. If you asked a gentleman to help 
you from any dish before him, he certainly com- 
plied, but in a manner that showed you had imposed 
on him a disagreeable office; and instead of a slice, 
your plate generally returned loaded with a solid 
massive wedge of animal matter. The New York 
carvers had evidently never graduated at Vauxhall. 
Brandy bottles were ranged at intervals along the 


table, from wliicli each guest helped himself as he 
thought proper. As the dhiner advanced, the party 
rapidly diminished; before the second course, a con- 
siderable portion had taken their departure, and 
comparatively few waited the appearance of the 
dessert. Though brandy was the prevailing beverage, 
there were many also who drank wine, and a small 
knot of three or four (whom I took to be country- 
men of my own) were still continuing the carousal 
when I left the apartment. 

An American is evidently by no means a convi- 
vial being. He seems to consider eating and drink- 
ing as necessary tasks, which he is anxious to dis- 
charge as speedily as possible. I was at first dispo- 
sed to attribute this singularity to the claims of 
business, which, in a mercantile community, might 
be found inconsistent with more prolonged enjoy- 
ment of the table. But this theory was soon relin- 
quished, for I could not but observe, that many of the 
most expeditious bolters of dinner spent several hours 
afterwards, in smoking and lounging at the bar. 

At six o'clock the bell rings for tea, when the 
party musters again, though generally in diminished 


force. This meal is likewise provided with its due 
proportion of solids. The most remarkable was raw 
hung beef, cut into thin slices, of which, — horresco 
referens^ — I observed that even ladies did not hesitate 
to partake. The tea and coffee were both execrable. 
A supper, of cold meat, &c., follows at ten o'clock, 
and remains on the table till twelve, when eating 
terminates for the day. Such is the unvarying rou- 
tine of a New York hotel. 

On the first Sunday after my arrival, I attended 
divine service in Grace Church, which is decidedly 
the most fashionable place of worship in New York. 
The congregation, though very numerous, was com- 
posed almost exclusively of the wealthier class; and 
the gay dresses of the ladies, — whose taste generally 
leads to a preference of the brightest colours, — pro- 
duced an effect not unlike that of a bed of tulips. 
Nearly in front of the reading desk, a comfortal>le 
chair and hassock had been provided for a poor old 
woman, apparently about fourscore. There w^as 
something very pleasing in this considerate and be- 
nevolent attention to the infirmities of a helpless and 
withered creature, who probably had outlived her 


friends, and was soon about to rejoin them in the 

The Episcopal church of America differs little in 
formula from that of England. The liturgy is the 
same, though here and there an expression has been 
altered, not always, I think, for the better. In the 
first clause of the Lord's Prayer, for instance, the 
word " which" has been changed into " who," on 
the score of its being more consonant to grammati- 
cal propriety. This is poor criticism, for, it will 
scarcely be denied, that the use of the neuter pro- 
noun carried with it a certain vagueness and subli- 
mity, not inappropriate in reminding us, that our 
worship is addressed to a Being incomprehensible, 
infinite, and superior to all the distinctions appli- 
cable to material objects. In truth, the grammatical 
anomaly so obnoxious to the American critics, is not 
a blemish, but a felicity. A few judicious retrench- 
ments have also been made in the service, and many 
of those repetitions which tend sadly to dilute the 
devotional feeling, by overstraining the attention, 
have been removed. 

Trinity Church, in Broadway, is remarkable as 


being the most riclily endowed establish naent in the 
Union, and peculiarly interesting, from containing 
in its cemetery the remains of the celebrated Ge- 
neral Hamilton. I have always regarded the me- 
lancholy fate of this great statesman with interest. 
Hamilton was an American, not by birth, but by 
adoption. He was born in the West Indies, but 
claimed descent from a respectable Scottish family. 
It may be truly said of him, that with every temp- 
tation to waver in his political course, the path 
he followed was a straight one. He was too honest, 
and too independent, to truckle to a mob, and 
too proud to veil or modify opinions, which, he 
must have known, were little calculated to secure 
popular favour. Hamilton brought to the task of le- 
gislation, a powerful and perspicacious intellect, and 
a memory stored with the results of the experience of 
past ages. He viewed mankind not as a theorist, but 
as a practical philosopher, and was never deceived 
by the false and flimsy dogmas of human perfectibi- 
lity, which dazzled the weaker vision of such men as 
Jefferson and Madison. In activity of mind, in 
soundness of judgment, and in the power of compre- 


hensive induction, he unquestionably stood the first 
man of his age and country. While the apprehen- 
sions of other statesmen were directed against the 
anticipated encroachments of the executive power, 
Hamilton saw clearly that the true danger menaced 
from another quarter. He was well aware that de- 
mocracy, not monarchy, was the rock on which the 
future destinies of his country were in peril of ship- 
wreck. He was, therefore, desirous that the new Fe- 
deral Constitution should be framed as m uch as pos- 
sible on the model of that of England, which, beyond 
all previous experience, had been found to produce 
the result of secure and rational liberty. It is a false 
charge on Hamilton, that he contemplated the intro- 
duction of monarchy, or of the corruptions which had 
contributed to impair the value of the British consti- 
tution ; but he certainly was anxious that a salutary 
and effective check should be found in the less popu- 
lar of the legislative bodies, on the occasional rash 
and hasty impulses of the other. He was favourable 
to a senate chosen for life ; to a federal government 
sufficiently strong to enforce its decrees in spite of 
party opposition, and the conflicting jealousies of the 


different States ; to a representation rather founded 
on property and intelligence than on mere numbers ; 
and perhaps of the two evils, would have preferred 
the tyranny of a single dictator, to the more degrad- 
ing despotism of a mob. 

Hamilton was snatched from his country, in the 
prime of life and of intellect. Had he lived, it is 
difficult to foresee what influence his powerful mind 
might have exercised on the immediate destinies of 
his country. By his talents and unrivalled powers 
as an orator, he might have gained fair audience, and 
some temporary favour, for his opinions. But this 
could not have been lasting. His doctrines of 
government in their very nature were necessarily 
unpopular. The Federalist party from the first occu- 
pied a false position. They attempted to convince 
the multitude of their unfitness for the exercise 
of political power. This of course failed. The in- 
fluence they obtained in the period immediately 
succeeding the revolution, was solely that of talent 
and character. Being personal, it died with the men, 
and sometimes before them. It was impossible for 
human efforts to diminish the democratic impulse 

VOL. I. E 


given by the revolution, or to be long successful in 
retarding its increase. In the very first struggle, the 
Federalists were defeated once and for ever, and the 
tenure of power by the Republican party has ever 
since, with one brief and partial exception, continued 

There is another tomb which I would notice 
before quitting the churchyard of Trinity. On a 
slab surmounting an oblong pile of masonry, are 
engraved the following words : 



This is the whole inscription ; and as I read the 
words I could not but feel it to be sublimely affect- 
ing. The name of him who erected this simple 
monument of filial piety, or of her whose dust it 
covers, is unpreserved by tradition. Why should 
that be told, which the world cares not to know ? It 
is enough, that the nameless tenant of this humble 
grave shall be known, " when the trumpet shall 
sound and the dead shall arise." Let us trust, that 


the mother and her child will then be reunited, to 
part no more. 

One of the earliest occupations of a traveller 
in a strange city, is to visit the theatres. There 
are three in New York, and I am assured, that both 
actors and managers prosper in their vocation. Such 
a circumstance is not insignificant. It marks opu- 
lence and comfort, and proves that the great body of 
the people, after providing the necessaries of life, 
possess a surplus, which they feel at liberty to 
lavish on its enjoyments. I have already been seve- 
ral times to the Park Theatre, which is decidedly 
the most fashionable. The house is very comfortable, 
and well adapted both for seeing and hearing. On 
my first visit, the piece was Der Freischutz, which 
was very wretchedly performed. The farce was new 
to me, and, I imagine, of American origin. The chief 
character is a pompous old baronet, very proud of his 
family, and exceedingly tenacious of respect. In 
his old age he has the folly to think of marrying, and 
the still greater folly, to imagine the attractions of 
his person and pedigree irresistible. As may be 
anticipated, he is the laughing stock of the piece. 



Insult and ridicule follow liim in every scene; he is 
kicked and cuffed to the hearty content of the au- 
dience, who return home full of contempt for the 
English aristocracy, and chuckling at the thought 
that there are no baronets in America. 

My curiosity was somewhat excited by the high 
reputation which an actor named Forrest has acqui- 
red in this country. As a tragedian, in the estimate 
of all American critics, he stands primus sine secundo. 
To place him on a level with Kean, or Young, or 
Kemble, or Macready, would here be considered as 
an unwarranted derogation from his merits. He is 
a Thespian without blemish and without rival. 

I have since seen this rara avis, and I confess that 
the praise so profusely lavished on him does appear 
to me somewhat gratuitous. He is a coarse and 
vulgar actor, without grace, without dignity, with 
little flexibility of feature, and utterly commonplace 
in his conceptions of character. There is certainly 
some energy about him, but this is sadly given to 
degenerate into rant. The audience, however, were 
enraptured. Every increase of voice in the actor 
was followed by louder thunders from box, pit, and 


gallery, till it sometimes became matter of serious 
calculation, how much longer one's tympanum could 
stand the crash. I give my impression of this gentle- 
man's merits as an actor the more freely, because I 
know he is too firmly established in the high opinion 
of his countrymen, to be susceptible of injury from 
the criticism of a foreigner, with all his prejudices, 
inherent and attributive. Perhaps indeed he owes 
something of the admiration which follows him on 
the stage, to the excellence of his character in private 
life. Forrest has realised a large fortune ; and I hear 
from all quarters, that in the discharge of every 
moral and social duty, he is highly exemplary. His 
literary talents, I am assured, are likewise respect- 

My fellow-passenger. Master Burke, draws full 
houses every night of his performance. Each time 
I have seen him, my estimate of his powers has been 
raised. In farce he does admirably ; but what must 
be said of the taste of an audience, who can even 
tolerate the mimicry of a child, in such parts as 
Lear, Shylock, Richard, and lago ? 

No one can be four-and -twenty hours in New 


York without hearing the alarm of fire. Indeed, a 
conflagration here is so very ordinary an occurrence, 
that it is attended by none of that general anxiety 
and excitement Avhich follow such a calamity in 
cities less accustomed to combustion. The New 
York firemen are celebrated for resolution and acti- 
vity ; and as the exercise of these qualities is always 
pleasant to witness, I have made it a point to attend 
all fires since my arrival. The four first were quite 
insignificant, indeed three of the number were ex- 
tinguished before my arrival, and I barely got up in 
time to catch a glimpse of the expiring embers of the 
fourth. But in regard to the fifth, I was in better 
luck. Having reached the scene, more than half 
expecting it would turn out as trumpery an affair as 
its predecessors, I had at length the satisfaction of 
beholding a very respectable volume of flame burst- 
ing from the windows and roof of a brick tenement 
of four stories, with as large an accompaniment of 
smoke, bustle, clamour, and confusion as could rea- 
sonably be desired. An engine came up almost 
immediately after my arrival, and loud cries, and the 
rattle of approaching wheels from either extremity 


of the street, gave notice that further assistance was 
at hand. Some time was lost in getting water, and 
I should think the municipal arrangements, in regard 
to this matter, might be better managed. In a few 
minutes, however, the difficulty was surmounted, and 
the two elements were brought fairly into collision. 

The firemen are composed of young citizens, who, 
by volunteering this service, — and a very severe one 
it is, — enjoy an exemption from military duty. Cer- 
tainly nothing could exceed their boldness and acti- 
vity. Ladders were soon planted ; the walls were 
scaled; furniture was carried from the house, and 
thrown from the windows, without apparent concern 
for the effects its descent might produce on the 
skulls of the spectators in the street. Fresh engines 
were continually coming up, and Avere brought into 
instant play. But as the power of water waxed, so 
unfortunately did that of the adverse element ; and 
so far as the original building was concerned, the 
odds soon became Pompey's pillar to a stick of seal- 
ing-wax, on fire. 

Day now closed, and the scene amid the darkness 
became greatly increased in picturesque beauty. At 


intervals human figures were seen striding through 
flame, and then vanishing amid the smoke. In the 
street, confusion became Avorse confounded. Had 
the crowd been composed of stentors, the clamour 
could not have been louder. The inhabitants of the 
adjoining houses, who, till now, seemed to have 
taken the matter very coolly, at length became 
alarmed, when the engines began to play on them, 
and ejected a torrent of chairs, wardrobes, feather- 
beds, and other valuable chattels from every avail- 
able opening. The house in which the fire broke 
out was now a mere shell ; the roof gone, and all 
the wooden- work consumed. The flames then burst 
forth in the roof of the house adjoiniug on the right, 
but the concentrated play of many engines soon sub- 
dued it. All danger was then at an end. The inha- 
bitants began to reclaim the furniture which they 
had tumbled out into the street, and I have no doubt 
went afterwards to bed as comfortably as if nothing 
had happened. I saw several of the inmates of the 
house that had been burned, and examined their 
countenances with some curiosity. No external 
mark of excitement was visible, and I gave them 


credit for a degree of nonchalance, far greater than I 
should have conceived possible in the circumstances. 

On the whole, I have no deduction to make from 
the praises so frequently bestowed on the New York 
firemen. The chief defect that struck me, was the 
admission of the crowd to the scene of action. This 
caused, and must always cause, confusion. In Eng- 
land, barriers are thrown across the street at some 
distance, and rigorously guarded by the police and 
constables. On suggesting this improvement to an 
American friend, he agreed it would be desirable, 
but assured me it was not calculated for the meri- 
dian of the United States, where exclusion of any 
kind is always adverse to the popular feeling. On 
this matter, of course, I cannot judge, but it seems to 
me clear, that if the exclusion of an idle mob from 
the scene of a fire, increases the chance of saving 
property and life, the freedom thus pertinaciously 
insisted on, is merely that of doing private injury 
and public mischief. 

With regard to the frequency of fires in New York, 
I confess, that after listening to all possible expla- 
nations, it does appear to me unaccountable. I am 


convinced, that in this single city there are annually 
more fires than occur in the whole Island of Great 
Britain. The combustible materials of which the 
majority of the houses are composed, is a circum- 
stance far from suflQcient to account for so enormous 
a disparity. Can we attribute it to crime? I think 
not; at least it would require much stronger evi- 
dence than has yet been discovered to warrant the 
hypothesis. In the negligence of servants, we have 
surer ground. These are generally negroes, and 
rarely to be depended on in any way, when exempt 
from rigid surveillance. But I am not going to con- 
coct a theory, and so leave the matter as I find it. 




The 25th of November, being the anniversary of 
the evacuation of the city by the British army, is 
always a grand gala-day at New York. To perpe- 
tuate the memory of this glorious event, there is 
generally a parade of the militia, some firing of can- 
non and small arms, a procession of the different 
trades, and the day then terminates as it ought, in 
profuse and patriotic jollification. But on the pre- 
sent occasion it was determined, in addition to the 
ordinary cause of rejoicing, to get up a pageant of 
unusual splendour, in honour of the late Revolution 
in France. This resolution, I was informed, origi- 
nated exclusively in the operative class, or workies, 
as they call themselves, in contradistinction to those 
who live in better houses, eat better dinners, read 


novels and poetry, and drink old Madeira instead of 
Yankee rum. The latter and more enviable class, 
however, having been taught caution by the results 
of the former French Revolution, were generally 
disposed to consider the present congratulatory cele- 
bration as somewhat premature, but finding it could 
not be prevented, prudently gave in, and determined 
to take part in the pageant. 

It was arranged, that should the weather prove 
unfavourable on the 25th, the gala should be defer- 
red till the day following. Nor was this precaution 
unwise. The morning of the appointed day was as 
unpropitious, as the prayers of the most pious ad- 
vocate of legitimacy could have wished. The rain 
came down in torrents, the streets were flooded ankle 
deep, and I could not help feeling strong compassion 
for a party of militia, with a band of music, who with 
doleful aspect, and drenched to the skin, paraded past 
the hotel, to the tune of Yankee Doodle. But the 
morning following was of better promise : the rain 
had ceased, and though cold and cloudy, it was calm. 

About ten o'clock, therefore, I betook myself to a 
house in Broadway, to which I had been obligingly 


invited to see the procession. During my progress, 
every thing gave note of preparation. The shops were 
closed, and men in military garb, and others de- 
corated with scarfs and ribbons, were seen moving 
hastily along to their appointed stations. On ap- 
proaching the route of the procession, the crowd 
became more dense, and the steps in front of the 
houses were so completely jammed up with human 
beings, that it was with difficulty I reached the door 
of that to which I was invited. 

Having at length, however, effected an entrance, 
I enjoyed the honour of introduction to a large and 
very pleasant party assembled with the same object 
as myself, so that, though a considerable time elap- 
sed before the appearance of the pageant, I felt no 
inclination to complain of the delay. At length, 
however, the sound of distant music reached the 
ear ; the thunder of drums, the contralto of the 
fife, the loud clash of cymbals, and first and farthest 
heard, the spirit- stirring notes of the trumpet. 

On they came, a glorious cavalcade, making 


heaven vocal with sound of triumph, and earth 
beautiful with such colouring as nature never scat- 
tered from her pictured urn. 

And first appeared, gorgeously caparisoned, a gal- 
lant steed bestrode by a cavalier, whose high and 
martial bearing bespoke him the hero of a hundred 
fights. The name of this chieftain I was not fortu- 
nate enough to learn. Next passed a body of militia, 
who, if they wished to appear as unlike soldiers 
as possible, were assuredly most successful. Then 
came the trades. Butchers on horseback, or drawn 
in a sort of rustic arbour or shambles, tastefully fes- 
tooned with sausages. Tailors, with cockades and 
breast-knots of ribbon, pacing to music, with ban- 
ners representative of various garments, waving 
proudly in the wind. Blacksmiths, with forge and 
bellows. Caravans of cobblers most seducingly ap- 
pareled, and working at their trade on a locomotive 
platform, which displayed their persons to the best 
advantage. And carpenters too, — but the i-est must 
be left to the imagination of the reader ; and if he 
throw in a few bodies of militia, a few bands of 
music, and a good many most outre and unmilitary 


looking officers, appareled in uniforms apparently 
of the last century, lie will form a very tolerable 
idea of the spectacle. 

I must not, however, omit to notice the fire 
engines, which formed a very prominent part of 
the procession, it fortunately happening that no 
houses were just at that moment in conflagration. 
These engines were remarkably clean and in high 
order, and being adorned with a good deal of taste, 
attracted a large share of admiration. Altogether, it 
really did seem as if this gorgeous pageant were in- 
terminable, and, like a dinner in which there is too 
large a succession of courses, it was impossible to do 
equal justice to all its attractions. In the latter 
case, the fervour with which we demonstrate our 
admiration of one dish, forces us to disregard the 
charms of another. If we are not unjust to venison, 
we must subsequently slight partridge, and then 
from a whole wilderness of sweets, our waning appe- 
tite demands that we should select but one. And 
thus it was, that I, fervent in my admiration of the 
butchers, was, in due course, charmed with the car- 
penters, and subsequently smitten with the singular 


splendour of the saddlers. But another and another 
still succeeded, till the eye and tongue of the spec- 
tator became literally bankrupt in applause. Est 
modus et dulci ; in short, there was too much of it, 
and one could not help feeling, after three hours 
spent in gazing, how practicable it was to become 
satiated with pomp, as well as with other good 

But tedious as the spectacle was, it did at length 
pass, and I walked on to Washington Square, in 
which the ceremonies of the day were to conclude 
with the delivery of a public oration. On arriving, 
I found that a large stage, or hustings, had been 
erected in the square. From the centre of this stage 
rose another smaller platform, for the accommo- 
dation of the high functionaries of the state and 
city. As CA^en the advanced guard of the proces- 
sion had not yet given signal of its approach, it was 
evident that some delay must occur, and I therefore 
accepted an invitation to one of the houses in the 
square, where I found a very brilliant concourse of 
naval and military officers, and other persons of 
distinction. Among these was the venerable Ex- 



President Munroe. It was, of course, not without 
interest that I gazed on an individual who had played 
so distinguished a part during the most perilous epoch 
of American history. He was evidently bent down by 
the united inroads of age and infirmity; and it was 
with regret I learned, that to those afflictions, which 
are the common lot of humanity, had been added 
those of poverty. The expression of Mr Munroe's 
countenance was mild, though not, I thought, highly 
intellectual. His forehead was not prominent, yet 
capacious and well defined. His eye was lustreless, 
and his whole frame emaciated and feeble. It was 
gratifying to witness the respect paid to this aged 
statesman by all who approached him; and I was 
delighted to hear the loud demonstrations of reve- 
rence and honour, with which his appearance in the 
street was hailed by the crowd. 

Mr Munroe being too feeble to walk even so short 
a distance, was conveyed to the hustings in an open 
carriage. His equipage was followed by a cortege 
of functionaries on foot ; and accompanying these 
gentlemen, I was admitted without difficulty to the 
lower platform, which contained accommodation for 

VOL. I. F 


about a hundred. Having arrived there, we had 
still to wait some time for the commencement of the 
performance, during which some vociferous mani- 
festations of disapprobation were made by the mob, 
who were prevented from approaching the hustings 
by an armed force of militia. At length, however, 
a portly gentleman came forward, and read aloud 
the address to the French inhabitants of New York, 
which had been passed at a public meeting. In 
particular, I observed that his countenance and 
gestures were directed towards a party of gentlemen 
of that nation, who occupied a conspicuous station 
on the stage beneath him. The document was too 
wordy and prolix, and written in a style of ambi- 
tious elaboration, which I could not help considering 
as somewhat puerile. 

While all this was going forward on the hustings, 
the crowd without were becoming every instant 
more violent and clamorous ; and a couple of boys 
were opportunely discovered beneath the higher 
scaffolding, engaged, either from malice or fun, in 
knocking away its supports, altogether unembar- 
rassed by the consideration, that had their efforts 


been successful, they must themselves have been 
inevitably crushed in the fall of the platform. 

Notwithstanding these desagdmens, the orator — 
a gentleman named Governor — came forward with 
a long written paper, which he commenced reading 
in a voice scarcely audible on the hustings, and 
which certainly could not be heard beyond its limits. 
The crowd, in consequence, became still more ob- 
streperous. Having, no doubt, formed high antici- 
pations of pleasure and instruction from the gifted 
inspiration of this gentleman's eloquence, it was cer- 
tainly provoking to discover, that not one morsel of 
it were they destined to enjoy. The orator was, in 
consequence, addressed in ejaculations by no means 
complimentary, and such cries as — " Raise your 
voice, and be damned to you !" "Louder !" — " Speak 
out !" — " We don't hear a word !" were accompanied 
by curses which I trust were not deep, in proportion 
either to their loudness or their number. In vain 
did Mr Governor strain his throat, in compliance 
with this unreasonable requisition, but Nature had 
not formed him either a Hunt or an O'Connell, and 
the ill-humouf of the multitude was not diminished. 


At length order seemed at an end. A number of 
the mob broke through the barricade of soldiers, 
and, climbing up the hustings, increased the party 
there in a most unpleasant degree. But this was 
not all. The dissatisfied crowd below, thought pro- 
per to knock away the supports of the scaffolding, 
and just as Mr Governor was pronouncing a most 
emphatic period about the slavery of Ireland, down 
one side of it came with an alarming crash. Fortu- 
nately some gentlemen had the good sense to exhort 
every one to remain unmoved ; and from a prudent 
compliance with this precaution, I believe little in- 
jury was sustained by any of the party. For my- 
self, however, being already somewhat tired of the 
scene, the panic had no sooner ceased, than I took 
my departure. 

Altogether, I must say that the multitude out of 
earshot had no great loss. The oration appeared 
a mere trumpery tissue of florid claptrap, which 
somewhat lowered my opinion with regard to the 
general standard of taste and intelligence in the 
American people. On the whole, the affair was a 
decided failure. What others went to see I know 


not, but had I not anticipated something better 
worth looking at, than a cavalcade of artisans mount- 
ed on cart-horses^ and dressed out in tawdry finery, 
or the burlesque of military display by bodies of 
undrilled militia, I should probably have staid at 
home. I do not say this is in allusion to any defi- 
ciency of splendour in the pageant itself. A repub- 
lic can possess but few materials for display, and in 
the present case I should not have felt otherwise, 
had the procession been graced by all the dazzling 
appendages of imperial grandeur. In truth, I had 
calculated on a sight altogether different. I expected 
to see a vast multitude animated by one pervading 
feeling of generous enthusiasm; to hear the air rent 
by the triumphant shouts of tens of thousands of 
freemen, hailing the bloodless dawn of liberty, in a 
mighty member of the brotherhood of nations. As 
it was, I witnessed nothing so sublime. Throughout 
the day, there was not the smallest demonstration of 
enthusiasm on the part of the vast concourse of 
spectators. There was no cheering, no excitement, 
no general expression of feeling of any sort ; and I 
believe the crowd thought just as much of France 


as of Morocco, — the Cham of Tartary, as of Louis 
Philippe, King of the French. They looked and 
laughed indeed at the novel sight of their fellow 
tradesmen and apprentices tricked out in ribbons 
and white stockings, and pacing, with painted ban- 
ners, to the sound of music. But the moral of 
the display, if I may so speak, was utterly over- 
looked. The people seemed to gaze on the scene 
before them with the same feeling as Peter Bell did 
on a primrose ; and it was evident enough — if, with- 
out irreverence, I may be permitted to parody the 
fine words of the noblest of contemporary poets, — 
that in the unexcited imagination of each spectator, 

A butcher on his steed so trim, 
A mounted butcher was to him, 
And he was nothing more. 

Such was the source of my disappointment in 
regard to this splendid festivity. How far it was 
reasonable, others may decide. I can only say I 
felt it. 

One of the most pleasant evenings I have passed 
since my arrival, was at a club composed of gentle- 
men of literary taste, which includes among its 


members, several of the most eminent individuals of 
the Union. The meetings are weekly, and take place 
at the house of each member in succession. The 
party generally assembles about eight o'clock; an 
hour or two is spent in conversation ; supper follows ; 
and after a moderate, though social potation, the 
meeting breaks up. I had here the honour of being 
introduced to Mr Livingston, lieutenant-governor of 
the State, Mr Gallatin, Mr Jay, and several other 
gentlemen of high accomplishment. 

Mr Gallatin I regarded with peculiar interest. 
His name was one with which I had been long fami- 
liar. Born in Switzerland, he became a citizen of 
the United States, soon after the Revolution, and 
found there a field, in which, it was not probable 
that talents like his, would remain long without 
high and profitable employment. I believe it was in 
the cabinet of Mr Jefferson that Mr Gallatin com- 
menced his career as a statesman. Since then, much 
of his life has been passed either in high offices at 
home, or as minister to some of the European 
Courts ; and the circumstance of his foreign birth 
rendering him ineligible to the office of President, 


this veteran statesman and diplomatist, wisely judg- 
ing that there should be * some space between the 
cabinet and grave,' has retired from political life, and 
finds exercise for his yet unbroken energies in the 
calmer pursuits of literature. 

In his youth Mr Gallatin must have been hand- 
some. His countenance is expressive of great 
sagacity. He is evidently an acute thinker, and his 
conversation soon discovered him to be a ruthless 
exposer of those traditionary or geographical so- 
phisms, in politics and religion, by which the mind 
of whole nations has been frequently obscured, and 
from the influence of which, none perhaps are entire- 
ly exempt. Mr Gallatin speaks our language with 
a slight infusion of his native accent, but iew have 
greater command of felicitous expression, or write it 
with greater purity. 

An evening passed in such company, could not be 
other than delightful. There was no monopoly of 
conversation, but its current flowed on equably and 
agreeably. Subjects of literature and politics were 
discussed with an entire absence of that bigotry and 
dogmatism, which sometimes destroy the pleasure of 


interchange of opinion, even between minds of high 
order. For myself, I was glad to enjoy an opportu- 
nity of observing the modes of thinking peculiar to 
intellects of the first class, in this new and interesting 
country, and I looked forward to nothing with more 
pleasure, than availing myself of the obliging invi- 
tation to repeat my visits at the future meetings of 
the Club. 

Having already passed a fortnight in one unbro- 
ken chain of engagements in this most hospitable 
city, I determined to give variety to the tissue of my 
life, by accepting the very kind and pressing invita- 
tion of Dr Hosack, to visit him at his country-seat 
on the banks of the Hudson. The various works of 
this gentleman have rendered his name well known 
in Europe, and procured his admission to the most 
eminent Philosophical Institutions in England, 
France, and Germany. For many years, he enjoyed 
as a physician the first practice in New York, and 
has recently retired from the toilsome labours of his 
profession, with the reputation of great wealth, and 
the warm esteem of his fellow-citizens. 
VOL. I. c. 


At eight o'clock in the morning, therefore, of a 
day which promised to turn out more than usually 
raw and disagreeahle, I embarked in the steam-boat 
North America, and proceeded up the river to Hyde- 
Park, about eighty miles distant. I had anticipated 
much enjoyment from the beautiful scenery on the 
Hudson, but the elements were adverse. We had 
scarcely left the quay, when the lowering clouds 
began to discharge their contents in the form of 
snow, and the wind was so piercingly cold that I 
found it impossible, even with all appliances of 
cloaks and great-coats, to remain long on deck. 
Every now and then, however, I reascended from 
below, to see as much as I could, and when nearly 
half frozen, returned to enjoy the scarcely less inte- 
resting prospect of the cabin stove. 

Of course, it was impossible, under such circum- 
stances, to form any just estimate of scenery; but 
still the fine objects which appeared occasionally 
glimmering through the mist, were enough to con- 
vince me, that seen under more favourable auspices, 
my expectations, highly as they had been excited, 
were not likely to encounter disappointment. That 


portion of the scenery in particular, distinguished 
by the name of the Highlands, struck me, as com- 
bining the elements of the grand and beautiful, in a 
very eminent degree. I remember nothing on the 
Rhine at all equal to it. The river at this place has 
found a passage through two ranges of mountains, 
evidently separated by some convulsion of nature, 
and which, in beauty and variety of form, and gran- 
deur of effect, can scarcely be exceeded. 

But the vessel in which this little voyage was 
performed, demands some notice, even amid scenery 
fine as that along which it conducted us with asto- 
nishing rapidity. Its dimensions seemed gigantic. 
Being intended solely for river navigation, the keel 
is nearly flat, and the upper portion of the vessel 
is made to project beyond the hull to a very consi- 
derable distance on either side. When standing at 
the stern, and looking forward, the extent of accom- 
modation appears enormous, though certainly not 
more than is required for the immense number of 
passengers who travel daily between New York and 
Albany. Among other unusual accommodations on 
deck, I was rather surprised at observing a barber's 


shop, in which, — ^judging from the state of the visages 
of my fellow-passengers, — I have no doubt that a 
very lucrative trade is carried on. 

The accommodation below was scarcely less wor- 
thy of note. It consisted of two cabins, which I 
guessed, by pacing them, to be an hundred and fifty 
feet in length. The sternmost of these spacious 
apartments is sumptuously fitted up with abundance 
of mirrors, ottomans, and other appurtenances of 
luxury. The other, almost equally large, was very in- 
ferior in point of decoration. It seemed intended for 
a sort of tippling-shop, and contained a har^ where 
liquors of all kinds, from Champagne to small beer, 
were dispensed to such passengers as have inclination 
to swallow, and money to pay for them. The sides 
of both of these cabins were lined with a triple row 
of sleeping-berths ; and as the sofas and benches 
were likewise convertible to a similar purpose, I was 
assured, accommodation could be easily furnished 
for about five hundred. 

The scene at breakfast was a curiosity. I calcu- 
lated the number of masticators at about three hun- 
dred, yet there was no confusion, and certainly no 



scarcity of provision. As for the waiters, their name 
might have been Legion, for they were many, and 
during tlie whole entertainment, kept skipping 
about with the most praiseworthy activity, some 
collecting money, and others engaged in the trans- 
lation of cutlets and coffee. The proceedings of the 
party in re breakfast, were no less brief and compen- 
dious afloat, than I had observed them on shore. As 
for eating, there was nothing like it discoverable on 
board the North America. Each man seemed to 
devour, under the uncontrollable impulse of some 
sudden hurricane of appetite, to which it would be 
difficult to find any parallel beyond the limits of the 
Zoological Gardens. A few minutes did the business. 
The clatter of knives and voices, vociferous at first, 
speedily waxed faint and fainter, plates, dishes, cups, 
and saucers disappeared as if by magic, and every 
thing connected with the meal became so suddenly 
invisible, that but for internal evidence, which the 
hardiest sceptic could scarcely have ventured to dis- 
credit, the breakfast in the North America might 
have passed for one of those gorgeous, but unreal 


visions, which, for a moment, mock the eye of the 
dreamer, and then vanish into thin air. 

The steamer made several brief stoppages at vil- 
lages on the river, for the reception and discharge of 
goods or passengers. From the large warehouses 
whicli these generally contained, they were evident- 
ly places of considerable deposit for the agricultural 
produce of the neighbouring country. They were 
built exclusively of wood, painted of a white colour ; 
and, certainly, for their population, boasted an 
unusual number of taverns, which gave notice of 
tlieir hospitality, on signboards of gigantic dimen- 
sions. The business to be transacted at these places 
occasioned but little loss of time. Every arrange- 
ment had evidently been made to facilitate despatch, 
and by two o'clock I found myself fairly ashore at 
Hyde Park, and glad to seek shelter in the landing- 
house from the deluge of snow, which had already 
whitened the whole surface of the country. 

I had just begun to question the landlord about 
the possibility of procuring a conveyance to the 
place of my destination, when Dr Hosack himself 
appeared, having obligingly brought his carriage for 


my conveyance. Though the drive from the landing- 
place led through a prettily variegated country, I was 
not much in the humour to admire scenery, and 
looked, I fear, with more indifference on the im- 
provements past and projected, to which the Doctor 
directed my attention, than would have heen consis- 
tent with politeness in a warmer and more comfort- 
able auditor. The distance, however, was little more 
than a mile, and, on reaching the house, the dis- 
agreeables of the journey were speedily forgotten in 
the society of its amiable inmates, and the enjoy- 
ment of every convenience which wealth and hospi- 
tality could supply. Dr Hosack had received his 
professional education in Scotland, and passed a 
considerable portion of his early life there. I was 
fortunately enabled to afford him some information 
relative to the companions of his early studies, many 
of whom have since risen to eminence, while others, 
perhaps not less meritorious, have lived and died 
undistinguished. In return, the Doctor was good 
enough to favour me, by communicating much 
valuable knowledge on the state of science and the 



arts in the United States, which I must have found 
great difficulty in ohtaining from other sources. 

There is this advantage in the pursuit of science, 
that it tends to generate liberality of sentiment, and 
destroy those prejudices which divide nations far 
more effectually than any barrier of nature. Science 
is of no country, and its followers, wherever born, 
constitute a wide and diffusive community, and are 
linked together by ties of brotherhood and interest, 
which political hostility cannot sever. These obser- 
vations were particularly suggested by my inter- 
course with Dr Hosack. Though our conversation 
was excursive, and embraced a vast variety of topics 
fairly debateable between an American and an Eng- 
lishman, I could really detect nothing of national 
prejudice in his opinions. He uniformly spoke of 
the great names of Europe with admiration and re- 
spect, and his allusions to the achievements of his 
countrymen in arts, arms, science, or philosophy, 
betrayed nothing of that vanity and exaggeration, 
with which, since my arrival, I had already become 
somewhat familiar. 

The following morning was bright and beautiful. 


The snow, except in places where the wind had 
drifted it into wreaths, had entirely disappeared ; 
and after breakfast, I was glad to accept the invita- 
tion of my worthy host, to examine his demesne, 
which was really very beautiful and extensive. No- 
thing could be finer than the situation of the house. 
It stands upon a lofty terrace, overhanging the Hud- 
son, whose noble stream lends richness and gran- 
deur to the whole extent of the foreground of the 
landscape. Above, its waters are seen to approach 
from a country finely variegated, but unmarked by 
any peculiar boldness of feature. Below, it is lost 
among a range of rocky and w^ooded eminences of 
highly picturesque outline. In one direction alone, 
however, is the prospect very extensive, and in that, 
(the southwest,) the Catskill Mountains, sending 
their bald and rugged summits far up into the sky, 
form a glorious framework for the picture. 

We drove through a finely-undulating country, in 
whicb the glories of the ancient forest have been re- 
placed by bare fields, intersected by hideous zigzag 
fences. God meant it to be beautiful, when He 
gave such noble varieties of hill and plain, wood and 


water ; but man seemed determined it should be 
otherwise. No beauty which the axe could remove 
was suffered to remain ; and wherever the tide of 
population reached, the havoc had been indiscrimi- 
nate and unsparing. 

Yet, of this, it were not only useless, but ridi- 
culous to complain. Such changes are not op- 
tional, but imperative. The progress of population 
necessarily involves them, and they must be regard- 
ed only as the process by which the wilderness is 
brought to minister to the wants and enjoyments of 
civilized man. The time at length comes, when an- 
other and a higher beauty replaces that which has 
been destroyed. It is only the state of transition 
which it is unpleasant to behold; the particular stage 
of advancement in which the wild grandeur of na- 
ture has disappeared, and the charm of cultivation 
has not yet replaced it. 

Dr Hosack was a farmer, and took gi*eat interest 
in the laudable, but expensive amusement of im- 
proving his estate. He had imported sheep and cattle 
from England, of the most improved breeds, and in 
this respect promised to be a benefactor to his neigh- 


bourliood. I am not much of a farmer, and found 
the Doctor sagacious about long horns and short legs, 
in a degree which impressed me with a due con- 
sciousness of my ignorance. The farm offices were 
extensive and well arranged, and contained some 
excellent horses. A pair of powerful carriage-horses, 
in particular, attracted my admiration. In this 
country these fine animals cost only two hundred 
dollars. In London, I am sure, that under Tatter- 
sail's hammer, they would not fetch less than three 
hundred guineas. 

But America is not the place for a gentleman far- 
mer. The price of labour is high, and besides, it 
cannot always be commanded at any price. The 
condition of society is not yet ripe for farming on a 
great scale. There will probably be no American 
Mr Coke for some centuries to come. The Trans- 
atlantic Sir John Sinclairs are yet in ovo, and a long 
period of incubation must intervene, before we 
can expect them to crack the shell. As things at 
present stand, small farmers could beat the great 
ones out of the field. What a man produces by his 
own labour, and that of his family, he produces 


cheaply. What he is compelled to hire others to 
perform, is done expensively. It is always the in- 
terest of the latter to get as much, and give as little 
labour in exchange for it as they can. Then arises 
the necessity of bailiffs and overseers, fresh mouths 
to be fed and pockets to be filled, and the owner 
may consider himself fortunate if these are content 
with devouring the profits, without swallowing the 
estate into the bargain. 

Having passed two very pleasant days with my 
kind and hospitable friends, I again took steam on 
my return to New York. Dr Hosack was good 
enough to accompany me on board, and introduce 
me to a family of the neighbourhood, who were re- 
turning from their summer residence to pass the 
winter in the city. In its members, w^as included 
one of the most intelligent and accomplished ladies 
I have ever met in any country. The voyage, there- 
fore, did not appear tedious, though the greater part 
of it was performed in the dark. About ten o'clock 
the steam-boat was alongside the quay, and I speed- 
ily found myself installed in my old quarters in 
Bunker's hotel. 




Professor Griscomb, a member of the Society 
of Friends, was obliging enough to conduct me over 
a large seminary placed under his immediate super- 
intendence. The general plan of education is one 
with which, in Scotland at least, we are familiar, 
and I did not remark that any material improvement 
had followed its adoption in the United States. To 
divide boys into large classes of fifty or a hundred, 
in which, of course, the rate of advancement of the 
slowest boy must regulate that of the cleverest and 
most assiduous, does not, T confess, appear a system 
founded on very sound or rational principles. On 
this plan of retardation, it is, of course, necessary to 
discover some employment for the boys, whose ta- 


lents enable them to outstrip their fellows ; and this 
is done by appointing them to the office of monitor, 
or teacher, of a subdivision of the class. This mode 
of communicating knowledge has its advantages and 
its faults. It is no doubt beneficial to the great body 
of the class, who are instructed with greater facility, 
and less labour to the master. But the monitors are 
little better than scapegoats, who, with some injus- 
tice, are made to pay the whole penalty of the com- 
parative dulness of their companions. The system, 
however, I have been assured, both in this country 
and in England, is found to work well, and I have 
no doubt it does so in respect to the average amount 
of instruction imparted to the pupils. But the prin- 
ciple of sacrificing the clever few, for the advance- 
ment of the stupid many, is one, I still humbly con- 
ceive, to be liable to strong objections. Of esta- 
blishments on this principle, I have seen none more 
successful than that of Professor Griscomb. Every 
thing which zeal and talent on the part of the mas- 
ter could effect, had obviously been done ; and on 
the part of the scholars, there was assuredly no want 


of proficiency in any branch of knowledge adapted 
to their age and capacity. 

A striking difference exists between the system 
of rewards and punishments adopted in the schools 
of the United States, and in ^hose of England. In 
the former, neither personal infliction, nor forcible 
coercion of any kind, is permitted. How far such a 
system is likely to prove successful, I cannot yet 
form an opinion, but judging solely from the semi- 
nary under Dr Griscomb, I should be inclined to 
augur favourably of its results. It has always, how- 
ever, appeared strange to me, that the Americans 
should betray so strong an antipathy to the system 
of the public schools of England. There are no 
other establishments, perhaps, in our country, so 
entirely republican both in principle and practice. 
Rank is there allowed no privileges, and the only 
recognised aristocracy is that of personal cjualities. 
Yet these schools are far from finding favour in 
American eyes. The system of fagging, in particular, 
is regarded with abhorrence; and since my arrival, I 
have never met any one who could even speak of it 
with patience. The state of feeling on this matter 


in the two countries presents this curious anomaly : 
A young English nobleman is sent to Westminster 
or Winchester to brush coats and wash tea-cups, 
while the meanest American storekeeper would red- 
den with virtuous indignation at the very thought of 
the issue of his loins contaminating his plebeian 
blood by the discharge of such functions. 

This difference of feeling, however, seems to ad- 
mit of easy explanation. In England, the menial 
offices in question form the duties o^ freemen; in 
America, even in those States where slavery has 
been abolished, domestic service being discharged 
by Negroes, is connected with a thousand degrading 
associations. So powerful are these, that I have 
never yet conversed with an American who could 
understand that there is nothing intrinsically dis- 
graceful in such duties ; and their being at all con- 
sidered so, proceeds entirely from a certain confu- 
sion of thought, which connects the office with the 
manners and character of those by whom it is dis- 
charged. In a country where household services 
are generally performed by persons of respectable 
character, on a level, in point of morals and acquire- 


ment, with other handicraftsmen, it is evident that 
such prejudice coukl exist in no material degree. 
But it certainly could not exist at all in a country, 
where for a certain period such services were per- 
formed by all^ including every rank below royalty. 
Let the idea of personal degradation, therefore, be 
wholly abstracted, and then the question will rest on 
its true basis, namely, whether such discipline as 
that adopted in our public schools, be favourable to 
the improvement of the moral character or not ? 

In England, the system is believed from long ex- 
perience to work practically well. No man will say, 
that British gentlemen, formed under the discipline 
of these institutions, are deficient in high bearing, 
or in generous spirit ; nor will it readily be consi- 
dered a disadvantage, that those who are afterwards 
to wield the united influence of rank and wealth, 
should, in their early years, be placed in a situation, 
where their personal and moral qualities alone can 
place them even on an equality with their compa- 

It is very probable, indeed, that a system suited 
to a country, in which gradation of ranks forms an 

VOL. I. H 


integral part of the constitution, may not be adapted 
to another, which differs so widely in these respects, 
as the United States. Here, there is no pride of birth 
or station to be overcome; and whether, under cir- 
cumstances so different, the kind of discipline in 
question might operate beneficially or otherwise, is a 
point on which I certainly do not presume to decide. 
I only assert my conviction, that in this country it 
has never yet been made the subject of liberal and 
enlightened discussion, and therefore that the value 
of Transatlantic opinion with regard to it is absolutely 
null. The conclusion adopted may be right, but 
the grounds on which it is founded are evidently 

Having resolved to devote the day to the inspec- 
tion of schools, I went from that under the superin- 
tendence of Professor Griscomb, to another for the 
education of children of colour. I here found about 
a hundred boys, in whose countenances might be 
traced every possible gradation of complexion be- 
tween those of the swarthy Ethiop and florid Euro- 
pean. Indeed several of the children were so fair, 
that I certainly never should have discovered the 


lurking taint of African descent. In person they 
were clean and neat, and though of course the off- 
spring of the very lowest class of the people, there 
was nothing in their dress or appearance indicative 
of ahject poverty. The master struck me as an in- 
telligent and benevolent man. He frankly answered 
all my questions, and evidently took pride in the 
proficiency of his pupils. 

It has often happened to me, since my arrival in 
this country, to hear it gravely maintained by men 
of education and intelligence, that the Negroes were 
an inferior race, a link as it were between man and 
the brutes. Having enjoyed few opportunities of 
observation on people of colour in my own coun- 
try, I was now glad to be enabled to enlarge my 
knowledge on a subject so interesting. I therefore 
requested the master to inform me whether the re- 
sults of his experience had led to the inference, that 
the aptitude of the Negroe children for acquiring 
knowledge was inferior to that of the whites. In 
reply, he assured me they had not done so ; and, on 
the contrary, declared, that in sagacity, perseverance, 
and capacity for the acquisition and retention of 


knowledge, his poor despised scholars were equal to 
any boys he had ever known. " Bat alas, sir !" said 
lie, " to what end are these poor creatures taught 
acquirement, from the exercise of which they are 
destined to be debarred, by the prejudices of society? 
It is surely but a cruel mockery to cultivate talents, 
Avhen in the present state of public feeling, there is 
no field open for their useful employment. Be his 
acquirements what they may, a Negroe is still a 
Negroe, or, in other words, a creature marked out 
for degradation, and exclusion from those objects 
which stimulate the hopes and powers of other men." 

I observed, in reply, that I was not aware that, in 
those States in which slavery had been abolished, 
any such barrier existed as that to which he alluded. 
" In the State of New York, for instance," I asked, 
** are not all offices and professions open to the man 
of colour as well as to the white ?" 

" I see, sir," replied he, " that you are not a 
native of this country, or you would not have asked 
such a question." He then went on to inform me, 
that the exclusion in question did not arise from any 
legislative enactment, but from the tyranny of that 


prejudice, which, regarding the poor black as a being 
of inferior order, works its own fulfilment in making 
him so. There was no answering this, for it accord- 
ed too well with my own observations in society, 
not to carry my implicit belief. 

The master then proceeded to explain the system 
of education adopted in the school, and subsequent- 
ly afforded many gratifying proofs of the proficiency 
of his scholars. One class were employed in navi- 
gation, and worked several complicated problems 
with great accuracy and rapidity. A large propor- 
tion were perfectly conversant with arithmetic, and 
not a few with the lower mathematics. A long and 
rigid examination took place in geography, in the 
course of which questions were answered with faci- 
lity, which I confess would have puzzled me exceed- 
ingly, bad they been addressed to myself. 

I had become so much interested in the little 
party-coloured crowd before me, that I recurred to 
our former discourse, and enquired of the master, 
what would probably become of his scholars on 
their being sent out into the world? Some trades, 
some description of labour of course were open to 


them, and I expressed my desire to know what these 
were. He told me they were few. The class study- 
ing navigation, were destined to be sailors ; but let 
their talents be what they might, it was impossible 
they could rise to be officers of the paltriest mer- 
chantman that entered the waters of the United 
States. The office of cook or steward was indeed 
within the scope of their ambition; but it was just as 
feasible for the poor creatures to expect to become 
Chancellor of the State, as mate of a ship. In other 
pursuits it was the same. Some would become stone- 
masons, or bricklayers, and to the extent of carrying 
a hod, or handling a trowel, the course was clear 
before them ; but the office of master-bricklayer 
was open to them in precisely the same sense as the 
Professorship of Natural Philosophy. No white 
artificer would serve under a coloured master. The 
most degraded Irish emigrant would scout the idea 
with indignation. As carpenters, shoemakers, or 
tailors, they were still arrested by the same barrier. 
In either of the latter capacities, indeed, they might 
work for people of their own complexion, but no 
gentleman would ever think of ordering garments of 


any sort from a Schneider of cuticle less white than 
his own. Grocers they might he, hut then who 
could conceive the possibility of a respectable house- 
hold matron purchasing tea or spiceries from a vile 
" Nigger ?" As barbers, they were more fortunate, 
and in that capacity might even enjoy the privilege 
of taking the President of the United States by the 
nose. Throughout the Union, the department of 
domestic service peculiarly belongs to them, though 
recently they are beginning to find rivals in the 
Irish emigrants, who come annually in swarms like 

On the whole, I cannot help considering it a mis- 
take to suppose, that slavery has been abolished in 
the Northern States of the Union. It is true, indeed, 
that in these States the power of compulsory labour 
no longer exists ; and that one human being within 
their limits, can no longer claim property in the 
thews and sinews of another. But is this all that is 
implied in the boon of freedom? If the word mean 
any thing, it must mean the enjoyment of equal 
rights, and the unfettered exercise in each indivi- 
dual of such powers and faculties as God has given 


him. In this true meaning of the word, it may be 
safely asserted, that this poor degraded caste are still 
slaves. They are subjected to the most grinding 
and humiliating of all slaveries, that of universal 
and unconquerable prejudice. The whip, indeed, has 
been removed from the back of the Negro, but the 
chains are still on his limbs, and he bears the brand 
of degradation on his forehead. What is it but 
mere abuse of language to call him free^ who is 
tyrannically deprived of all the motives to exertion 
which animate other men ? The law, in truth, has 
left him in that most pitiable of all conditions, a 
mo.sterless slave. 

It cannot be denied, that the Negro population are 
still compelled, as a class^ to be the hewers of wood, 
and drawers of water, to their fellow-citizens. Citi- 
zens ! there is indeed something ludicrous in the 
application of the word to these miserable Pariahs. 
What privileges do they enjoy as such ? Are they 
admissible upon a jury ? Can they enroll themselves 
in the militia? Will a white man eat with them, or 
extend to them the hand of fellowship ? Alas ! if 
these men, so irresistibly manacled to degradation, 


are to be called yz-ee, tell us, at least, what stuff are 
slaves made of! 

But on this subject, perhaps, another tone of ex- 
pression — of thought, there can be no other — may 
be more judicious. I have already seen abundant 
proofs, that the prejudices against the coloured por- 
tion of the population, prevail to an extent, of which 
an Englishman could have formed no idea. But 
many enlightened men, I am convinced, are above 
them. To these I would appeal. They have already 
begun the work of raising this unfortunate race 
from the almost brutal state to which tyranny and 
injustice had condemned it. But let them not con- 
tent themselves with such delusive benefits as the 
extension of the right of suffrage, recently conferred 
by the Legislature of New York.* The opposition 

* The Legislature of New York, in 1829, extended the riyht of 
suffrage to men of colour, possessed of a clear freehold estate, icithout 
encumbrance, of the value of 250 dollars. A very safe concession no 
doubt, since to balance the black interest, the same right of suffrage 
was granted to every white male of twenty-one years, who has been 
one year in the State. It might be curious to know how many 
coloured voters became qualified by this enactment. They must in- 
deed have been rari nantes in gvrgite vasto of the election. 

VOL. I. I 


to be overcome, is not that of law, but of opinion. If 
in unison with the ministers of religion, they will 
set their shoulders to the wheel, and combat preju- 
dice with reason, ignorance with knowledge, and 
Pharisaical assumption with the mild tenets of Chris- 
tianity, they must succeed in infusing a better tone 
into the minds and hearts of their countrymen. It 
is true, indeed, the victory will not be achieved in a 
day, nor probably in an age, but assuredly it will 
come at last. In achieving it, they will become the 
benefactors, not only of the Negro population, but 
of their fellow-citizens. They will give freedom to 
both ; for the man is really not more free whose 
mind is shackled by degrading prejudice, than he 
who is its victim. 

As illustrative of the matter in hand, I am tempt- 
ed here to relate an anecdote, though somewhat out 
of place, as it did not occur till my return to New 
York in the following Spring. Chancing one day at 
the Ordinary at Bunker's, to sit next an English 
merchant from St Domingo ; in the course of con- 
versation, he mentioned the following circumstances. 
The son of a Haytian general, high in the favour of 


Boyer, recently accompanied him to New York, 
which he came to visit for pleasure and instruction. 
This young man, though a mulatto, was pleasing in 
manner, and with more intelligence than is usually 
to be met with in a country in which education is 
so defective. At home, he had been accustomed to 
receive all the deference due to his rank, and when 
he arrived in New York, it was with high anticipa- 
tions of the pleasure that awaited him in a city so 
opulent and enlightened. 

On landing, he enquired for the best hotel, and 
directed his baggage to be conveyed there. He was 
rudely refused admittance, and tried several others 
with similar result. At length he was forced to 
take up his abode in a miserable lodging-house kept 
by a Negro woman. The pride of the young Haytian, 
(who, sooth to say, was something of a dandy, and 
made imposing display of gold chains and brooches,) 
was sadly galled by this, and the experience of every 
hour tended further to confirm the conviction, that, 
in this country, he was regarded as a degraded 
being, with whom the meanest white man would 
hold it disgraceful to associate. In the evening he 


went to the tlieatre, and tendered his money to the 
box-keeper. It was tossed back to him, with a dis- 
dainful intimation, that the place for persons of his 
colour was the upper gallery. 

On the following morning, my countryman, who 
had frequently been a guest at the table of his fa- 
ther, paid him a visit. He found the young Hay- 
tian in despair. All his dreams of pleasure were 
gone, and he returned to his native island by the 
first conveyance, to visit the United States no more. 

This young man should have gone to Europe. 
Should he visit England, he may feel quite secure, 
that if he have money in his pocket, he will offer 
himself at no hotel, from Land's End to John O'- 
Groat's house, where he will not meet a very cor- 
dial reception. Churches, theatres, operas, concerts, 
coaches, chariots, cabs, vans, waggons, steam-boats, 
railway carriages and air balloons, will all be open 
to him as the daylight. He may repose on cushions 
of down or of air, he may charm his ear with music, 
and his palate with luxuries of all sorts. He may 
travel en 'prince or en roturier, precisely as his fancy 
dictates, and may enjoy even the honours of a crown- 


ed head, if he will only pay like one. In short, so long 
as he carries certain golden hallast about with him, 
all will go well. But, when that is done, God help 
him. He will then become familiar with the provi- 
sions of the vagrant act, and Mr Roe or Mr Ballantine 
will recommend exercise on the treadmill, for the 
benefit of his constitution. Let him but show his 
nose abroad, and a whole host of parish overseers 
will take alarm. The new police will bait him like a 
bull ; and should he dare approach even the lowest 
eating-house, the master will shut the door in his 
face. If he ask charity, he will be told to work. If 
he beg work, he will be told to get about his busi- 
ness. If he steal, he will be found a free passage to 
Botany Bay, and be dressed gratis on his arrival, in 
an elegant suit of yellow. If he rob, he will be 
found a free passage to another w^orld, in which, as 
there is no paying or receiving in payment, we may 
hope that his troubles will be at an end for ever. 




Having moved, since my arrival, in a tolerably 
wide circle, I now feel qualified to offer some obser- 
vations on the state of society in New York. The 
houses of the better order of citizens, are generally 
of brick, sometimes faced with stone or marble, and 
in the allotment of the interior very similar to tene- 
ments of the same class in England. The dining 
and drawing-rooms are uniformly on the ground 
floor, and communicate by folding doors, which, 
when dinner is announced, are thrown open for the 
transit of the company. The former of these apart- 
ments, so far as my observation has carried me, dif- 
fers nothing in appearance from an English one. 
But the drawing-rooms in Ncav York certainly strike 


me as being a good deal more primitive in their ap- 
pliances than those of the more opulent classes in 
the old country. Furniture in the United States is 
apparently not one of those articles in which wealth 
takes pride in displaying its superiority. Every 
thing is comfortable, but every thing is plain. Here 
are no buhl tables, nor or-molu clocks, nor gigantic 
mirrors, nor cabinets of Japan, nor draperies of silk 
or velvet ; and one certainly does miss those thou- 
sand elegancies, with which the taste of British 
ladies delights in adorning their apartments. In 
short, the appearance of an American mansion is de- 
cidedly republican. No want remains unsupplied, 
while nothing is done for the gratification of a taste 
for expensive luxury. 

This is as it should be. There are few instances 
of such opulence in America as would enable its 
owner, without inconvenience, to lavish thousands 
on pictures, ottomans, and china vases. In such a 
country, there are means of profitable outlay for 
every shilling of accumulated capital, and the Ame- 
ricans are too prudent a people to invest in objects 
of mere taste, that which, in the more vulgar shape 


of cotton or tobacco, would tend to the replenishing 
of their pockets. And, after all, it is better, per- 
haps, to sit on leather or cotton, with a comfortable 
balance at one's banker's book, than to lounge on 
damask, and tread on carpets of Persia, puzzling our 
brains about the budget and the ways and means. 

One cause of the effect just noticed, is unquestion- 
ably the absence of the law, or rather the custom of 
primogeniture. A man x^hose fortune, at his death, 
must be divided among a numerous family in equal 
proportions, will not readily invest any considerable 
portion of it, in such inconvertible objects as the 
productions of the fine arts, and still less in articles 
of mere household luxury, unsuited to the circum- 
stances of his descendants. It will rarely happen 
that a father can bequeath to each of his children 
enough to render them independent. They have to 
struggle into opulence as best they may; and assu- 
redly, to men so circumstanced, nothing could be 
more inconvenient and distasteful, than to receive 
any part of their legacies, in the form of pictures, 
or scagliola tables, instead of Erie canal shares, or 
bills of the New York Bank, 


Another circumstance, probably not without its 
effect in recommending both paucity and plainness 
of furniture, is the badness of the servants. These 
are chiefly people of colour, habituated from their 
cradle to be regarded as an inferior race, and con- 
sequently sadly wanting both in moral energy and 
principle. Every lady with whom I have conversed 
on the subject, speaks with envy of the superior 
comforts and facilities of an English establishment. 
A coloured servant, they declare, requires perpe- 
tual supervision. He is an executive, not a delibe- 
rative being. Under such circumstances the drud- 
gery that devolves on an American matron, I should 
imagine to be excessive. She must direct every ope- 
ration that is going on from the garret to the cellar. 
She must be her own housekeeper ; superintend all 
the outgoings and comings in, and interfere in a 
thousand petty and annoying details, which, in Eng- 
land, go on like clock-work, out of sight and out of 

If it fare so with the mistress of an establishment, 
the master has no sinecure. A butler is out of the 
question. He would much rather know that the 


keys of his cellar were at the bottom of the Hudson, 
than in the pocket of black Csesar, with a fair op- 
portunity of getting at his Marston or his Bingham. 
Few of the coloured population have energy to resist 
temptation. The dread of punishment has been re- 
moved as an habitual motive to exertion, but the 
sense of inextinguishable degradation yet remains. 

The torment of such servants has induced many 
families in New York to discard them altogether, and 
supply their places with natives of the Emerald Isle. 
It may be doubted, whether the change has gene- 
rally been accompanied by much advantage. Do- 
mestic service in the United States, is considered as 
degrading by all untainted by the curse of African 
descent. No native American could be induced to 
it, and popular as the present President may be, he 
would probably not find one of his constituents, 
whom any amount of emolument would induce to 
brush his coat, or stand behind his carriage. On 
their arrival in this country, therefore, the Scotch 
and English, who are not partial to being looked 
down upon by their neighbours, very soon get hold 
of this prejudice; but he of that terrestrial paradise. 


" first flower of the earth, and first gem of the sea," 
has no such scruples. Landing often at the quay of 
New York, without hat, shoes, and sometimes less 
dispensable garments, he is content to put his pride 
in his pocket, where there is always ample room for 
its accommodation. But even with him domestic 
service is only a temporary expedient. The moment 
he contrives to scrape together a little money, he 
bids his master good morning, and, fired with the 
ambition of farming or storekeeping, starts off for 
the back country. 

The nuisance of this is, that no white servant is 
ever stationary in a place. He comes a mere clod- 
pole, and is no sooner taught his duty, and become 
an useful member of the house, than he accepts the 
Chiltern Hundreds, and a new writ must forthwith 
be issued for a tenant of the pantry. Now, though 
annual elections may be very good things in the 
body politic^ the most democratic American will pro- 
bably admit, that in the body domestic^ the longer 
the members keep their seats the better. Habits of 
office are of some value in a valet, as well as in a 
secretary of state, and how these are to be obtained 


by either functionary, as matters are at present or- 
dered in this country, I profess myself at a loss to 

When you enter an American house, either in 
quality of casual visitor or invited guest, the servant 
never thinks of ushering you to the company ; on 
the contrary, he immediately disappears, leaving you 
to explore your way, in a navigation of which you 
know nothing, or to amuse yourself in the passage 
by counting the hat-pegs and umbrellas. In a strange 
house, one cannot take the liberty of bawling for 
assistance, and the choice only remains of opening 
doors on speculation, with the imminent risk of in- 
truding on the bedroom of some young lady, or of 
cutting the gordian knot by escaping through the 
only one you know any thing about. I confess, that 
the first time I found myself in this unpleasant pre- 
dicament, the latter expedient was the one I adopted, 
though I fear not without offence to an excellent 
family, who, having learned the fact of my admis- 
sion, could not be supposed to understand the motive 
of my precipitate retreat. 

On the whole, the difference is not striking, I 


should imagine, between the social habits of the 
people of New York, and those prevalent in our 
first-rate mercantile cities. In both, the faculties 
are exerted in the same pursuits; in both, the domi- 
nant aristocracy is that of wealth ; and in both, 
there is the same grasping at unsubstantial and un- 
acknowledged distinctions. 

It is the fashion to call the United States the land 
of liberty and equality. If the term equality be 
understood simply as implying, that there exists no 
privileged order in America, the assertion, though not 
strictly true,* may pass. In any wider acceptation 
it is mere nonsense. There is quite as much prac- 
tical equality in Liverpool as New York. The mag- 
nates of the Exchange do not strut less proudly in 
the latter city than in the former ; nor are their 
wives and daughters more backward in supporting 
their pretensions. In such matters legislative enact- 
ments can do nothing. Man's vanity, and the de- 
sire of distinction inherent in his nature, cannot be 

* Not strictly true, because in manj' of the States the right of suf- 
frage is made dependent on a certain qualification in property. In 
Virginia, in particular, this qualification is very high. 


repressed. If obstructed in one outlet, it will only 
gush forth with greater vehemence at another. The 
most contemptible of mankind has some talent of 
mind or body, some attraction — virtue — accomplish- 
ment — dexterity — or gift of fortune,— in short, 
something real or imaginary, on which he arrogates 
superiority to those around him. The rich man 
looks down upon the poor, the learned on the igno- 
rant, the orator on him unblessed with the gift of 
tongues, and " he that is a true-born gentleman, 
and stands upon the honour of his birth," despises 
the roturier, whose talents have raised him to an 
estimation in society perhaps superior to his own. 

Thus it is with the men, and with the fairer sex 
assuredly it is not different. No woman, conscious 
of attraction, was ever a republican in her heart. 
Beauty is essentially despotic — it uniformly asserts 
its power, and never yet consented to a surrender of 
privilege. I have certainly heard it maintained in 
the United States, that all men were equal, but never 
did I hear that assertion from the lips of a lady. 
On the contrary, the latter is always conscious of 
the full extent of her claims to preference and ad- 


miration, and is never satisfied till slio feels them 
to be acknowledged. And what zephyr is too light to 
fill the gossamer sails of woman's vanity ! The form 
of a feature, the whiteness of a hand, the shade of 
a ringlet, a cap, a feather, a trinket, a smile, a mo- 
tion — all, or any of these, or distinctions yet finer 
and more shadowy, if such there be — are enough, 
here as elsewhere, to constitute the sign and shibbo- 
leth of her fantastic supremacy. It is in vain, there- 
fore, to talk of female republicans; there exists, 
and can exist, no such being on either side of the 
Atlantic, for human nature is the same on both. 

In truth, the spirit of aristocracy displays itself in 
this commercial community in every variety of form. 
One encounters it at every turn. T'other night, 
at a ball, I had the honour to converse a good deal 
with a lady, who is confessedly a star of the first 
magnitude in the hemisphere of fashion. She enqui- 
red what I thought of the company. I answered, 
" that I had rarely seen a party in any country in 
which the average of beauty appeared to me to be 
so high." 

" Indeed !" answered my fair companion, with an 


expression of surprise; " it would seem that you 
English gentlemen are not difficu't to please; but 
does it strike you, that the average is equally high 
as regards air, manner, fashion ?'* 

" In regard to such matters," I replied, " I cer- 
tainly could not claim for the party in question any 
remarkable distinction ; but that, in a scene so ani- 
mated, and brilliant with youth, beauty, and gaiety 
of spirit, I was little disposed to play the critic." 

" Nay," replied my opponent, for the conversa- 
tion had already begun to assume something of the 
form of argument, " it surely requires no spirit of 
rigid criticism, to discriminate between such a set 
of vulgarians, as you see collected here, and ladies 
who have been accustomed to move in a higher and 

better circle. Mrs is an odd person, and 

makes it a point to bring together at her balls all 
the riff-raff of the place — people whom, if you were 
to remain ten years in New York, you would pro- 
bably never meet any where else. I assure you, 
there are not a dozen girls in this room that I should 
think of admitting to my own parties," 

Thus driven from the field, I ventured to direct 


her notice to several elegant and pretty girls, about 
whom I asked some questions. Their attractions, 
however, were either not admitted, or when these 
were too decided to allow of direct negation, the sub- 
ject was ingeniously evaded. If I talked of a pretty 
foot, I was told its oAvner was the daughter of a 
tobacconist. If I admired a graceful dancer, I was 
assured (what I certainly should not have discover- 
ed) that the young lady was of vulgar manners, and 
without education. Some were so utterly unknown 
to fame, that the very names, birth, habits, and 
connexions, were buried in the most profound and 
impenetrable obscurity. In short, a Count of the 
Empire, with his sixteen quarterings, probably would 
not have thought, and certainly would not have 
spoken, with contempt half so virulent of these fair 
plebeians. The reader will perhaps agree, that there 
are more exclusives in the world than the lady-pa- 
tronesses of Almack's. 

I shall now give an instance of the estimation in 
which wealth is held in this commercial community. 
At a party a few evenings ago, the worthy host was 
politely assiduous in introducing me to the more 

VOL. I. K 


promiuent individuals who composed it. Unfortu- 
nately, he considered it necessary to preface each 
repetition of the ceremony with some preliminary 
account of the pecuniary circumstances of the gen- 
tleman, the honour of whose acquaintance was about 
to be conferred on me. '' Do you observe," he 
asked, " that tall thin person, with a cast in his eye, 
and his nose a little cocked? Well, that man, not 
three months ago, made an hundred thousand dol- 
lars by a single speculation in tallow. You must 
allow me to introduce you to him.'' 

The introduction passed, and my zealous cicerone 
again approached, with increased importance of as- 
pect — " A gentleman," he said, " worth at least 
half a million, had expressed a desire to make my 
acquaintance." This was gratifying, and, of course, 
not to be denied. A third time did our worthy en- 
tertainer return to the charge, and before taking 
my departure, I had the honour of being introduced 
to an individual, who was stated to be still more 
opulent than his predecessors. Had I been pre- 
sented to so many bags of dollars, instead of to their 


possessors, the ceremony would have been quite as 
interesting, and perhaps less troublesome. 

The truth is, that in a population wholly devoted 
to money-getting, the respect paid to wealth is so 
pervadingly diffused, that it rarely occurred to any 
one, that it was impossible I should feel the slightest 
interest in the private circumstances of the gentle- 
men with whom I might chance to form a transient 
acquaintance. It is far from my intention, however, 
to assert, that many of the travelled and more intel- 
ligent order of Americans could be guilty of such 
sottises as that to which I have alluded. But it is 
unquestionably true, that the tone of conversation, 
even in the best circles, is materially lowered by the 
degree in which it is engrossed by money and its 
various interests. Since my arrival, I have received 
much involuntary instruction in the prices of corn, 
cotton, and tobacco. I am already well informed as 
to the reputed pecuniary resources of every gentle- 
man of my acquaintance, and the annual amount of 
his disbursements. My stock of information as to 
bankruptcies and dividends is very respectable ; and 
if the manufacturers of Glasgow and Paisley knew 


only Jialf as well as I do, how thoroughly the New 
York market is glutted with their goods, they assu- 
redly would send out no more on speculation. 

The usual dinner hour at New York is three o'clock, 
and as the gentlemen almost uniformly return to the 
discharge of business in the evening, it may be pre- 
sumed that dinner parties are neither convenient to 
the entertainer nor the guests. Though not uncom- 
mon, therefore, they are certainly less frequent than 
among individuals of the same class in England. 
This circumstance has, perhaps, wrought some 
change in their character, and deprived them of that 
appearance of easy and habitual hospitality, for the 
absence of which, additional splendour or profusion 
can afford but imperfect compensation. When a 
dinner party is given in this country, it is always on 
a great scale. Earth, and air, and ocean, are ran- 
sacked for their products. The whole habits of the 
family are deranged. The usual period of the meal 
is postponed for several hours ; and considering the 
materials of which an American menage is compo- 
sed, it is not difficult to conceive the bustle and con- 
fusion participated by each member of the establish- 


ment, from Peter, the saffron- coloured groom of the 
chambers, to Silvia, the black kitchen wench. 

In the ordinary routine, therefore, of American 
intercourse, visiting seldom commences till the even- 
ing, when the wealthier members of the community 
almost uniformly open their houses for the reception 
of company. Of this hospitable arrangement I have 
frequently taken advantage. On such occasions 
little ceremony is observed. Each guest enters and 
departs when he thinks proper, without apology or 
explanation. Music and conversation are the usual 
entertainments — some slight refection is handed 
round, and before midnight the p.irty has broken 

This facility of intercourse is both pleasant and 
convenient to a stranger like myself. It affords 
valuable opportunities for the observation of man- 
ners ; and it is pleasing to be admitted within the 
charmed circle, which many of my predecessors 
have found it difficult, if not impossible, to over- 

The formalities of a New York dinner do not differ 
much from those of an English one. Unfortunately, 


it is not liere the fashion to invite the fairer part of 
creation to entertainments so gross and substantial, 
and it rarely happens that any ladies are present on 
such occasions, except those belonging to the family 
of the host. The party, however, is always enli- 
vened by their presence at the tea-table, and then 
comes music, and perhaps dancing, while those who, 
like myself, are disqualified for active participation 
in such festivities, talk with an air of grave autho- 
rity, of revolutions in Europe, the prospects of war 
or peace. Parliamentary Reform, and other high and 
interesting matters. 

Before dinner, the conversation of the company 
assembled in the drawing-room is here, as elsewhere, 
generally languid enough ; but a change suddenly 
comes over the spirit of their dream : The folding- 
doors which communicate with the dining-room are 
thrown open, and all paradise is at once let in on the 
soul of a gourmand. The table, instead of display- 
ing, as with us, a mere beggarly account of fish and 
soup, exhibits an array of dishes closely w^edged in 
triple column, which it would require at least an 
acre of mahogany to deploy into line. Plate, it is 


true, does not contribute much to the splendour of 
the prospect, but there is quite enough for comfort, 
though not perhaps for display. The lady of the 
mansion is handed in form to her seat, and the enter- 
tainment begins. The domestics, black, white, snuff- 
coloured, and nankeen, are in motion ; plates vanish 
and appear again as if by magic ; turtle, cold-blooded 
by nature, has become hot as Sir Charles Wetherell, 
and certainly never moved so rapidly before. The 
flight of ham and turkey is unceasing; venison 
bounds from one end of the table to the other, with 
a velocity never exceeded in its native forest ; and 
the energies of twenty human beings are all evidently 
concentrated in one common occupation. 

During soup and fish, and perhaps the first slice 
of the haunch, conversation languishes, but a glass 
or two of Champagne soon operates as a corrective. 
The eyes of the yoimg ladies become more brilliant, 
and those of elderly gentlemen acquire a certain 
benevolent twinkle, which indicates, that for the 
time being they are in charity with themselves and 
all mankind. 

At length the first course is removed, and is sue- 

120 WINES. 

ceeded by a whole wilderness of sweets. This, too, 
passes, for it is impossible, alas ! to eat for ever. 
Then come cheese and the dessert; then the departure 
of the ladies ; and Claret and Madeira for an hour or 
twain are unquestioned lords of the ascendant. 

The latter is almost uniformly excellent. I have 
never drank any Madeira in Europe at alle quailing 
what I have frequently met in the United States. 
Gourmets attribute this superiority partly to climate, 
but in a great measure to management. Madeira, in 
this country, is never kept as with us, in a subterra- 
nean vault, where the temperature throughout the 
year is nearly equal. It is placed in the attics, where 
it is exposed to the whole fervour of the summer's 
heat, and the severity of winter's cold. The effect 
on the flavour of the wine is certainly remarkable. 

The Claret is generally good, but not better than 
in England ; Port is used by the natives only as a 
medicine, and is rarely produced at table except in 
compliment to some English stranger, it being a 
settled canon, here as elsewhere, that every English- 
man drinks Port. I have never yet seen fine Sherry, 


probably because that wine has not yet risen into 
esteem in the United States. 

The gentlemen in America pique themselves on 
their discrimination in wine, in a degree which is 
not common in England. The ladies have no sooner 
risen from table, then the business of winebibbing 
commences in good earnest. The servants still re- 
main in the apartment, and supply fresh glasses to 
the guests as the successive bottles make their ap- 
pearance. To each of these a history is attached, 
and the vintage, the date of importation, &c., are all 
duly detailed ; then come the criticisms of the com- 
pany, and as each bottle produced contains wine of 
a different quality from its predecessor, there is no 
chance of the topic being exhausted. At length, 
having made the complete tour of the cellar, pro- 
ceeding progressively from the commoner wines to 
those of finest flavour, the party adjourns to the 
drawing-room, and, after coffee, each guest takes his 
departure without ceremony of any kind. 

It would be most ungrateful were I not to declare, 
that I have frequently found these dinner parties 
extremely pleasant. I admit that there is a plain- 

VOL. I. L 


ness and even bluntness in American manners, 
somewhat startling at first to a sophisticated Euro- 
pean. Questions are asked with regard to one's 
habits, family, pursuits, connexions, and opinions, 
which are never put in England, except in a wit- 
ness box, after the ceremony of swearing on the 
four Evangelists. But this is done with the most 
perfect bonhoynmie, and evidently without the small- 
est conception, that such examination can possibly 
be offensive to the patient. It is scarcely fair to 
judge one nation by the conventional standard of 
another ; and travellers who are tolerable enough of 
the peculiarities of their continental neighbours, 
ought in justice, perhaps, to make more allowance 
than they have yet done, for those of Brother Jona- 
than. Such questions, no doubt, would be sheer 
impertinence in an Englishman, because, in putting 
them, he could not but be aware, that he was viola- 
ting the established courtesies of society. They are 
not so in an American, because he has been brought 
up with different ideas, and under a social regime 
more tolerant of individual curiosity, than is held in 
Europe to be compatible with good manners. Yet, 


after all, it must be owned, that it is not always 
pleasant, to feel yourself the object of a scrutiny, 
often somewhat coarsely conducted, and generally 
too apparent to be mistaken. I do assert, however, 
that in noo ther country I have ever visited, are the 
charities of life so readily and so profusely opened 
to a stranger as in the United States. In no other 
country will he receive attentions so perfectly disin- 
terested and benevolent ; and in none, when he seeks 
acquaintances, is it so probable that he will find 

It has been often said, — indeed said so often as to 
have passed into a popular apophthegm, that a strong 
prejudice against Englishmen exists in America, 
Looking back on the whole course of my experience 
in that country, I now declare, that no assertion 
more utterly adverse to truth, was ever palmed by 
prejudice or ignorance, on vulgar credulity. That a 
prejudice exists, I admit, but instead of being against 
Englishmen, as compared with the natives of other 
countries, it is a prejudice in their favour. The 
Americans do not weigh the merits of their foreign 
visitors in an equal balance. They are only too apt 


to throw tlieir own partialities into the scale of the 
Englishman, and give it a preponderance to which 
the claims of the individual have probahly no pre- 

I beg, however, to be understood. Of the vast 
multitude of English whom the extensive com- 
mercial intercourse between the countries draws to 
the United States, few, indeed, are persons of liberal 
acquirement, or who have been accustomed to mix 
in good society in their own country. Coming to 
the United States on the pursuits of business, they 
are, of course, left to the attentions of those gentle- 
men with whom their professional relations bring 
them more particularly in contact. Admitting, for 
argument's sake, that all those persons were entirely 
unexceptionable both in manners and morals, their 
mere number, which is very great, would, in itself, 
operate as an exclusion. That they are hospitably 
received, I have no doubt, nor have I any that they 
meet with every attention and facility which com- 
mercial men can expect in a commercial commu- 

But when an English gentleman, actuated by mo- 


tives of liberal curiosity, visits iheir country, lie is 
received in a different manner, and with very differ- 
ent feeling. Once assured of his respectability, he 
is admitted freely into society, and I again assert 
that he will meet a benevolent interest in promoting 
his views, which a traveller may in vain look for in 
other countries. I should be wrong in saying, how- 
ever, that all this takes place without some scrutiny. 
Of whatever solecisms of deportment they are them- 
selves guilty, the Americans are admirable, and, 
perhaps, not very lenient, judges of manners in 
otliers. They are quite aware of high breeding 
when they see it, and draw conclusions with regard 
to the pretensions of their guests from a thousand 
small circumstances apparent only to very acute ob- 
servation. With them vulgar audacity will not pass 
for polished ease ; nor will fashionable exterior be 
received for more than it is worth. I know of no 
country in which an impostor would have a more 
difficult game to play in the prosecution of his craft, 
and should consider him an accomplished deceiver, 
were he able to escape detection amid observation so 
vigilant and acute. 


In admitting that the standard of manners in the 
United States is somewhat lower than in England, 
I wish to be understood as speaking exclusively of 
the higher circles in the latter country. I am not 
aware, that bating a few peculiarities, the manners 
of the first-rate merchants of New York, are at all 
inferior to those either of Liverpool or any other of 
our great commercial cities. I am certain that they 
are not inferior to any merchants in the Avorld, in 
extent of practical information, in liberality of sen- 
timent, and generosity of character. Most of them 
have been in England, and from actual observation 
have formed notions of our national character and 
advantages, very different from the crude and ig- 
norant opinions, which, I must say, are entertained 
by the great body of their countrymen. Were it 
admissible to form general conclusions of the Ame- 
rican character, from that of the best circle in the 
greater Atlantic cities of the Union, the estimate 
would be high indeed. 

Unfortunately, however, the conclusions drawn 
from premises so narrow, would be sadly erroneous. 
The observations already made are applicable only 


to a very small portion of the population, ccmposed 
almost entirely of the first-rate merchants and law- 
yers. Beyond that, there is a sad change for the 
worse. Neither in the manners nor in the morals 
of the great body of traders, is there much to draw 
approbation from an impartial observer. Comparing 
them with the same classes in England, one cannot 
but be struck with a certain resolute and obtrusive 
cupidity of gain, and a laxity of principle as to the 
means of acquiring it, which I should be sorry to 
believe formed any part of the character of my 
countrymen. I have heard conduct praised in con- 
versation at a public table, which in England would 
be attended, if not with a voyage to Botany Bay, at 
least with total loss of character. It is impossible 
to pass an hour in the bar of the hotel, without be- 
ing struck with the tone of callous selfishness which 
pervades the conversation, and the absence of all 
pretension to pure and lofty principle. The only 
restraint upon these men is the law, and he is evi- 
dently considered the most skilful in his vocation, 
who contrives to overreach his neighbour, without 
incurring its penalties. 


It may probably be urged, that in drawing these 
harsh conclusions, I judge ignorantly, since, having 
no professional connexion with trade or traders, I 
cannot be supposed to know from experience any 
thing of the actual character of their commercial 
transactions. To this I reply, that my judgment 
has been formed on much higher grounds than the 
experience of any individual could possibly afford. If 
I am cheated in an affair of business, I can appeal but 
to a single case of fraud. I can only assert, that a 
circumstance has happened in America, which 
might have happened in any country of Europe. 
But when a man publicly confesses an act of fraud, 
or applauds it in another, two conclusions are fairly 
deducible. First, that the narrator is a person 
of little principle ; and, second, that he believes his 
audience to be no better than himself. Assuredly, 
no man will confess any thing, which he imagines 
may, by possibility, expose him to contempt ; and 
the legitimate deduction from such details extends 
not only to the narrator of the anecdote, but to the 
company who received it without sign of moral in- 


It may be well, however, to explain, that the pre- 
ceding observations have not been founded exclu- 
sively on the population of New York. The com- 
pany in a hotel, is generally composed of persons 
from all States in the Union ; and it may be, that the 
standard of probity is somewhat higher in this opu- 
lent and commercial city, than in the poorer and 
more remote settlements. For the last three weeks 
I have been daily thrown into the company of about 
an hundred individuals, fortuitously collected. A 
considerable portion of these are daily changing, and 
it is perhaps not too much to assume that, as a whole, 
they afford a fair average specimen of their class. 
Without, therefore, wishing to lead the reader to any 
hasty or exaggerated conclusion, I must in candour 
state, that the result of my observations has been to 
lower considerably the high estimate I had formed of 
the moral character of the American people. 

Though I have unquestionably met in New 
York with many most intelligent and accomplished 
gentlemen, still I think the fact cannot be denied, 
that the average of acquirement resulting from edu- 
cation is a good deal lower in this country than in 


the better circles of England. In all the knowledge 
which must be taught, and which requires laborious 
study for its attainment, I should say the Americans 
are considerably inferior to my countrymen. In that 
knowledge, on the other hand, which the individual 
acquires for himself by actual observation, which 
bears an immediate marketable value, and is directly 
available in the ordinary avocations of life, I do not 
imagine the Americans are excelled by any people in 
the world. They are consequently better fitted for 
analytic than synthetic reasoning. In the former 
process they are frequently successful. In the latter, 
their failure sometimes approaches to the ludicrous. 
Another result of this condition of intelligence is, 
that the tone even of the best conversation is pitched 
in a lower key than in England. The speakers 
evidently presume on an inferior degree of acquire- 
ment in their audience, and frequently deem it 
necessary to advance deliberate proof of matters, 
which in the old country would be taken for granted. 
There is certainly less of what may be called floating 
intellect in conversation. First principles are labori- 
ously established, and long trains of reasoning termi- 


nate, not in paradox, but in commonplace. In short, 
whatever it is the obvious and immediate interest of 
Americans to know, is fully understood. WhatcA^er 
is available rather in the general elevation of the in- 
tellect, than in the promotion of individual ambition, 
engrosses but a small share of the public attention. 

In the United States one is struck with the fact, 
that there exist certain doctrines and opinions which 
have descended like heirlooms from generation to 
generation, and seem to form the subject of a sort of 
national entail, most felicitously contrived to check 
the natural tendency to intellectual advancement in 
the inheritors. The sons succeed to these opinions 
of their father, precisely as they do to his silver sal- 
vers, or gold-headed cane ; and thus do certain dog- 
mas, political and religious, gradually acquire a sort 
of prescriptive authority, and continue to be handed 
down, unsubjected to the test of philosophical exami- 
nation. It is at least partially attributable to this 
cause, that the Americans are given to deal somewhat 
too extensively in broad and sweeping aphorisms. The 
most difficult problems of legislation are here treated 
as matters on which it were an insult on the under- 


standing of a schoolboy, to suppose that he could 
entertain a doubt. Enquire their reasons for the 
inbred faith, of wliich they are the dark though vehe- 
ment apostles, and you get nothing but a few shallow 
truisms, which absolutely afford no footing for the 
conclusions they are brought forward to establish. 
The Americans seem to imagine themselves imbued 
with the power o^ feeling truth, or, rather, of get- 
ting at it by intuition, for by no other process can I 
yet discover that they attempt its attainment. With 
the commoner and more vulgar truths, indeed, I 
should almost pronounce them too plentifully stock- 
ed, since in these, they seem to imagine, is contained 
the whole valuable essence of human knowledge. It is 
unquestionable, that this character of mind is most 
unfavourable to national advancement; yet it is too 
prominent not to find a place among the features 
which distinguish the American intellect from that 
of any other people with whom it has been my for- 
tune to become acquainted. 

To-morrow it is my intention to proceed to 
Boston ; I shall leave the public establishments, &c. 


of New York unvisited till my return ; being anxious, 
during the first period of my residence, to confine 
my attention to the more prominent and general fea- 
tures which distinguish this interesting community. 





At four o'clock, p. m, on the 8th of December, I 
embarked on board the steam -boat Chancellor Li- 
vingstone, and in a few minutes the vessel was un- 
der weigh. Her course lay up the East RiA^er, and 
along the channel which divides Long Island from 
the mainland. I had heard much of a certain dan- 
gerous strait, called Hell Gate, formed by the pro- 
jection of huge masses of rock, which obstruct the 
passage of the river, and diverting the natural course 
of the current, send its waters spinning round in 
formidable eddies and whirlpools. At high water — 
as it happened to be when we passed it — this said 
portal had no very frightful aspect. The stream was 
rapid, to be sure, but a double engine of ninety horse 



power was more than a match for it ; and the Chan- 
cellor, in spite of its terrors, held on his course 
rejoicing, with little apparent diminution of velo- 
city. Vessels, however, have been wrecked here, 
and a canal is spoken of, by which its dangers may 
be avoided. 

The accommodations on board were such, as to 
leave the most querulous traveller no excuse for 
grumbling. The cabin, to be sure, with two huge 
red-hot stoves in it, was of a temperature which a 
salamander must have admired exceedingly, but the 
atmosphere, composed of the discarded breath of 
about an hundred passengers, still retained a sufficient 
portion of oxygen to support life. The hour of tea 
came, and all the appetite on board was mustered on 
the occasion. The meal passed speedily as heart could 
desire; but the mingled odour of fish, onions, and 
grease, was somewhat more permanent. Whether 
it improved the atmosphere, or not, is a point which 
I could not settle to my own satisfaction at the time, 
and must now, I fear, remain for ever undecided. 

It was impossible, in such circumstances, to think 
of bed. The very thought of blankets was distress- 


ing. I had no book; and as for conversation, I could 
hear none in which I was at all qualified to bear a 
part. I therefore ordered my writing-box, adjusted 
a new Bramah, and of the words that flowed from 
it, he that has read the preceding pages is already in 

If I wrote in bad humour there was really some 
excuse for it. Close to my right were two loud po- 
lemics, engaged in fierce dispute on the Tariff bill. On 
my left was an elderly gentleman, without shoes or 
slippers, whose cough and expectoration were some- 
what less melodious than the music of the spheres. 
In the berth immediately behind, lay a passenger, 
whose loud snoring proclaimed him as happy as a 
complete oblivion of all worldly cares could make 
him. Right opposite was a gentleman without 
breeches, who, before jumping into bed, was detail- 
ing to a friend the particulars of a lucky hit he had 
just made in a speculation in train oil. And beside 
me, at the table, sat a Baptist clergyman, reading, 
sotto voce, a chapter of Ezekiel, and casting, at the 
conclusion of each verse, a glance of furtive curio- 
sity at my paper. 


It may be admitted, that such are not the items 
which go to the compounding of a paradise. But 
the enjoyment of travelling, like other pleasures, 
must be purchased at some little expense; and he 
whose good-humour can be ruffled by every petty 
inconvenience he may chance to encounter, had 
unquestionably better remain at home. For my- 
self, I beg it therefore to be understood, that in 
detailing the petty and transient annoyances con- 
nected with my journey, I do so, not as matters by 
which my tranquillity was materially affected, but 
as delineations naturally belonging to a picture of 
society, and without which it would be incomplete. 
A tourist in the United States, will find no occasion 
for the ardour, the perseverance, or the iron consti- 
tution of a Lander ; and yet he will do well to re- 
member, that travellers, like players at bowls, must 
occasionally expect rubbers. 

But I have dwelt too much on the disagreeables 
of the voyage, without giving the per contra side of 
the account. There was a fair breeze and a smooth 
sea; and an Irish steward, who was particularly 
active in my behalf, and made my berth very com- 

VOL. I. M , 


fortable, by the fraudulent abstraction of sundry pil- 
lows from those of my American neighbours. This 
he has done — he told my servant so — because I am 
from the old country; and yet one would suppose, 
that on such a man the claim of mere national affi- 
nity could have little influence. I talked a good deal 
with him about his former circumstances, and soon 
collected, that what is called living in Ireland, is 
usually entitled starving in other countries. Though 
rather chary of confession, I gathered, too, that the 
world was not his friend, nor the world's laws, and 
that he came to the United States to avoid a gaol, 
and without a shilling in his pocket. The day on 
which he left Ireland should be marked in his annals 
Avith a white stone. He now enjoys a comfortable 
situation — confesses he can save money; eats and 
drinks well ; is encased in warm clothing ; is troubled 
very little with the tax-gatherer, and not at all with 
the tithe-proctor. And what is there in the counte- 
nance of an Englishman, that it should excite in such 
a man the feeling of benevolence and kindred ? In his 
memory, one would suppose, the past would be linked 
only with suffering, while the present is undoubtedly 


associated with the experience of a thousand com- 
forts, to which, in his days of vassalage and white- 
boyism, his imagination never ventured to soar. 
Yet, believe the man, and he regrets having left 
home ! He thinks he could have done as well in 
Ireland. He has no fault to find with America — it 
is a good country, enough for a poor man. Whisky 
is cheaper here, and so is bread and mate ; but then 
his oidd mother, — and his sisters, — and Tim Regan, 
he would like to see them again ; and, please God, 
if he ever can afford it, he will return, and have his 
bones laid in the same churchyard with theirs. 

But if Pat ever get back to Ireland, I venture to 
prophesy that his stay will not be long there. At 
present, his former privations are more than half- 
forgotten ; but let him once again encounter them, 
and the difference between the country of his birth 
and that of his adoption, will become more apparent 
than argument could now make it. On the whole, 
it was pleasing to observe, that while time and dis- 
tance obliterate the misfortunes of life, their tend- 
ency is to strengthen its charities. 

On the following morning, about eleven o'clock. 


we reached Providence, and found eight or ten stage- 
coaches waiting on the quay to convey the passen- 
gers to Boston. Though I carried letters of intro- 
duction to several gentlemen in Providence, it had 
not been my intention to remain there, and I had 
accordingly, before landing, secured places in one of 
these vehicles. But in the hurry and bustle of 
scrambling for seats and coaches, and with the sight 
of eight large human beings already cooped up in 
that by which I must have travelled, I began to 
waver in my resolution, and at length resolved to 
sacrifice the money I had paid, and tahe the chances 
of better accommodation, and a more agreeable party, 
on the day following. Besides, the weather was raw 
and gusty, and I had been drenched from the knee 
downward in wading through the masses of half- 
melted snow, which covered the landing-place. The 
idea, therefore, of a comfortable Providence hotel, 
naturally found more favour in my imagination, 
than an eight hours' journey to Boston, in such 
weather, such company, and such conveyance as I 
could reasonably anticipate. 

On reaching the hostelry, however, its external ap- 


pearance was far from captivating. There was no sign- 
board, nor did the house display any external symbol 
of the hospitality within. Below was a range of 
shops, and the only approach was by a narrow stair, 
which might have passed for clean in Rome, but 
would have been considered dirty in England. On 
entering, I stood for some time in the passage, and 
though I enquired at several members of the esta- 
blishment, who brushed past me, whether I could 
have accommodation, no answer was vouchsafed. At 
length, advancing to the bar, I observed the land- 
lord, who was evidently too busily engaged in mix- 
ing brandy and water for a party of smokers, to have 
any attention to bestow on a stranger like myself. I, 
therefore, addressed a Avoman whom I observed to 
look towards me with something of cold enquiry in 
her expression, and again begged to know whether I 
could be accommodated for the night. The ques- 
tion was not more fortunate than its predecessors 
in drawing forth a response, nor was it till some 
minutes had elapsed, that, during a fortunate inter- 
mission of the demand for spirits, my enquiries were 
at length attended to, and satisfactorily answered. 


Matters now went on more promisingly. I found 
that I could not only be supplied, with every tiling 
within the scope of reasonable expectation, but with 
a luxury I had not ventured to anticipate, — a private 
parlour, communicating with a very comfortable 
bed-room, and accompanied with the privilege of 
commanding my own hours. 

Having changed my dress, and given a few direc- 
tions about dinner, I sallied forth to view the city. 
Providence is the capital of the State of Rhode 
Island, and contains about 25,000 inhabitants. It 
stands at the foot and on the brow of a hill, which 
commands a complete view of the fine bay. The 
great majority of the houses are built of wood, inter- 
spersed, however, with tenements of brick, and a few 
which are at least fronted with stone. It contains 
considerable cotton manufactories, which — boasting 
no knowledge of such matters — I was not tempted 
^o visit. The college appears a building of some 
extent, and is finely situated on the summit of a 
neighbouring height. The roads were so obstructed 
by snow, as to render climbing the ascent a matter 
of more difficulty than I was in the humour to en- 


counter ; and so it was decreed, that Brown's College 
should remain by me unvisited. 

The first settlement of Providence is connected 
with a melancholy instance of human inconsistency. 
The Pilgrim Fathers, as they are called, had left 
their country, to find in the wilds of the New World 
that religious toleration which had been denied them 
in the Old. But no sooner had these victims of per- 
secution established themselves in New England, 
than, in direct and flagrant violation, not only of all 
moral consistency, but of the whole scope and spirit 
of the Christian religion, they became j^ersecutors in 
their turn. Socinians and Quakers, — all, in short, 
who differed from them in opinion, were driven forth 
with outrage and violence. Among the number was 
Roger Williams, a Puritan clergyman, who ventured 
to expose what he considered " evidence of backsli- 
ding'' in the churches of Massachusetts. The clergy 
at first endeavoured to put him down by argument 
and remonstrance ; the attempt failed, and it was 
then determined that the civil authority should free 
the orthodox population from the dangerous presence 
of so able and sturdy a polemic. Roger Williams 


was banislieclj and, followed by a few of his people, 
continued to wander in the wilderness, till, coming 
to a place called by the Indians Mooshausic, he 
there pitched his tabernacle, and named it Provi- 

Such are a few of the circumstances connected 
with the first establishment of the State of Rhode 
Island. The light in which they exhibit human 
nature is not flattering; yet they only afford another 
proof, if such were wanted, of the natural connexion 
between bigotry and persecution, and that the vic- 
tims of political or religious oppression, too often 
want only the power to become its ministers. 

The only building which makes any pretension to 
architectural display is the arcade, faced at either 
extremity with an Ionic portico. Judging by the 
eye, the shaft of the columns is in the proportion of 
the Grecian Doric, an order beautiful in itself, but 
which, of course, is utterly barbarized by an Ionic 
entablature. By the way, I know not any thing in 
which the absence of taste in America is more sig- 
nally displayed than in their architecture. The coun- 
try residences of the wealthier citizens are generally 


adorned with pillars, which often extend from the 
basement to the very top of the house, (some three 
or four stories,) supporting, and pretending to sup- 
port, nothing. The consequence is, that the pro- 
portions of these columns are very much those of 
the stalk of a tobacco-pipe, and it is difficult to con- 
ceive any thing more unsightly. Even in the pub- 
lic buildings, there is often an obtrusive disregard 
of every recognised principle of proportion, and cla- 
morous demands are made on the admiration of fo- 
reigners, in behalf of buildings Avhich it is impos- 
sible to look upon without instant and unhesitating 

In a seaport one generally takes a glance at the 
harbour, to draw some conclusions, however uncer- 
tain, with regard to the traffic of the place. The 
guide-books declare, that Providence has a good deal 
of foreign commerce. It may be so, but in the bay 
I could only count two square-rigged vessels, and 
something under a score of sloops and schooners. 

I must not forget to mention, having witnessed to- 
day the progress of an operation somewhat singular 

VOL. I. N 


ill cliaracter. This Avas nothing less than raising a 
large tenement, for the purpose of introducing another 
story below. The building was of frame-work, with 
chimneys of brick, and consisted of two houses con- 
nected by the gable. The lower part of one was occu- 
pied as a warehouse, whicb seemed well filled with 
casks and cotton-bags. I stood for some time to ob- 
serve the progress of the work. The process adopted 
was this : The building was first raised by means of a 
succession of wedges inserted below the foundation. 
Having thus gained the requisite elevation, it was 
maintained there by supports at each corner, and 
by means of screws pressing laterally on the tim- 
bers. At the time I saw it, the building had been 
raised about five feet into the air, and the only 
mode of ingress or egress was by ladders. On look- 
ing with some curiosity at the windows, I soon ga- 
thered enough to convince me that the inhabitants 
were engaged in their usual domestic avocations, 
without being at all disturbed by their novel posi- 
tion in the atmosphere. As for the warehouse, the 
business of buying and selling had apparently en- 
countered no interruption. On the whole, the ope- 


ration, though simple, struck me as displaying a 
very considerable degree of mechanical ingenuity. 

Having finished my ramble, I returned to the inn, 
where a very tolerable dinner awaited my appear- 
ance. It was the first time I had dined alone since 
leaving England, and, like my countrymen gene- 
rally, I am disposed to attach considerable import- 
ance to the privilege of choosing my dinner, and the 
hour of eating it. It is only when alone that one en- 
joys the satisfaction of feeling that he is a distinct 
unit in creation, a beings totus, teres, atque rotundus. 
At a public ordinary he is but a fraction • a decimal at 
most, but very probably a centesimal of a huge mas- 
ticating monster, with the appetite of a Mastodon 
or a Behemoth. He labours under the conviction, 
that his meal has lost in dignity what it has gained 
in profusion. He is consorted involuntarily with 
people to whom he is bound by no tie but that of 
temporary necessity, and with whom, except the 
immediate impulse of brutal appetite, he has proba- 
bly nothing in common. A man, like an Ameri- 
can, thus diurnally mortified and abased from his 
youth upwards, of course knows nothing of the high 


thoughts which ^dsit the imagination of the solitary, 
who, having finished a good dinner, reposes with a full 
consciousness of the dignity of his nature, and the 
high destinies to which he is called. The situation 
is one which naturally stimulates the whole inert 
mass of his speculative henevolence. He is at peace 
with all mankind, for he reclines on a well-stuffed 
sofa, and there are wine and walnuts on the tahle. 
He is on the best terms with himself, and recalls his 
own achievements in arms, literature, or philoso- 
phy, in a spirit of the most benign complacency. If 
he look to the future, the prospect is bright and 
unclouded. If he revert to the past, its " written 
troubles," its failures and misfortunes, are erased 
from the volume, and his memories are exclusively 
those of gratified power. He is in his slippers, and 
comfortable rohe'de-chambre, and what to him, at 
such a moment, are the world and its ambitions? 
I appeal to the philosopher, and he answers — No- 
thing ! 

It was in such condition of enjoyment, physical 
and intellectual, that I was interrupted by the en- 
trance of my servant, to inform me that he had just 


met Captain Bennet on the stair, who, learning that 
I was at dinner, had obligingly expressed his inten- 
tion of favouring me with a visit at the conclusion 
of my meal. I immediately returned assurance, 
that nothing could afford me greater pleasure ; and 
in a few minutes I had the satisfaction of exchan- 
ging a friendly grasp with this kind and intelligent 
sailor. In the course of our tete-a-tete^ he informed me 
that he was travelling from his native town. New 
Bedford, to Boston, in company with Mrs Bennet, 
to whom he was good enough to offer me the privi- 
lege of an introduction. I accordingly accompanied 
the Captain to his apartment, where I passed a plea- 
sant evening, and retired, gratified by the intelli- 
gence that they were to proceed on the following 
morning by the same vehicle in which I had already 
secured places. To travel with Captain Bennet was, 
in truth, not only a pleasure, but an advantage, for 
being a New Englander, he was enabled, in the 
course of our journey, to communicate many parti- 
culars with regard to his native province, which, 
though most useful in directing the opinions of a 


traveller, could scarcely, perhaps, have fallen within 
the immediate sphere of his ohservations. 

On the following morning we were afoot betimes, 
and after a tolerable breakfast at a most unchristian 
hour, left Providence at seven o'clock, and I enjoyed 
my first introduction to an American stage-coach. 
Though what an Englishman accustomed to the 
luxuries of " light-post coaches," and Macadamised 
roads, might not unreasonably consider a wretched 
vehicle, the one in question was not so utterly abo- 
minable as to leave a Frenchman or an Italian any 
fair cause of complaint. It was of ponderous pro- 
portions, built with timbers, I should think about the 
size of those of an ordinary waggon, and was attach- 
ed by enormous straps to certain massive irons, 
which nothing in the motion of the carriage could 
induce the traveller to mistake for springs. The sides 
of this carriage were simply curtains of leather, 
which, when the heat of the weather is inconve- 
nient, can be raised to admit a freer ventilation. In 
winter, however, the advantages of this contrivance 
are more than apocryphal. The wind penetrates 
through an hundred small crevices, and with the 


thermometer below zero, this freedom of circulation 
is found not to add materially to the pleasures of a 
journey. The complement of passengers inside was 
nine, divided into three rows, the middle seat being 
furnished with a strap, removable at pleasure, as a 
back support to the sitters. The driv^er also receives 
a companion on the box, and the charge for this 
place is the same as for those in the interior. The 
whole machine indeed was exceedingly clumsy, 
yet perhaps not more so, than was rendered neces- 
sary by the barbarous condition of the road on 
which it travelled. The horses, though not hand- 
some, were strong, and apparently well adapted for 
their work, yet I could not help smiling, as I thought 
of the impression the whole set out would be likely to 
produce on an English road. The flight of an air 
balloon would create far less sensation. If exhibited 
as a specimen of a fossil carriage, buried since the 
Deluge, and lately discovered by Professor Buckland, 
it might pass without question as the family- coach in 
which Noah conveyed his establishment to the ark. 
Then the Jehu ! A man in rusty black, with the 
appearance of a retired grave-digger. Never was 


sucli a coachman seen within the limits of the four 

Though the distance is only forty miles, we were 
eight hours in getting to Boston. The road, I 
rememher to have set down at the time, as the very 
worst in the world, an opinion, which my subse- 
quent experience as a traveller in the United States, 
has long since induced me to retract It abounded 
in deep ruts, and huge stones which a little exercise 
of the hammer mijiht have converted into excellent 
material. English readers may smile when one talks 
seriously of the punishment of being jolted in a stage- 
coach, but to arrive at the end of a journey with 
bruised flesh and aching bones, is, on the whole, not 
particularly pleasant. For myself, I can truly say, 
that remembering all I have occasionally endured in 
the matter of locomotion on the American continent, 
the martyr to similar sufferings shall always enjoy 
my sincere sympathy. On the present occasion, to 
say nothing of lateral concussion, twenty times at 
least was I pitched up with violence against the roof 
of the coach, which, being as ill provided with stuf- 
fing as the cushions below, occasioned a few changes 


in my phrenological developements. One of the 
passengers, however, — a grave valetudinarian — 
assured me, that such unpleasant exercise was an 
admirable cure for dyspepsy, and that when suffer- 
ing under its attacks, he found an unfailing remedy 
in being jolted over some forty or fifty miles of such 
roads as that we now travelled. At the moment, I 
certainly felt more inclined to pity him for the 
remedy than the disease. 

There had been thaw during the night, and the 
greater part of the snow had disappeared. The 
country through which we passed was prettily va- 
ried in surface, but the soil was poor and stony, and 
the extent to which wood had been suffered to grow 
on land formerly subjected to the plough, showed It 
had not been found to repay the cost of tillage. 
About four miles from Providence, we passed the 
village of Pawtucket. It is one of the chief seats of 
the cotton manufacture in the United States. The 
aspect of the place was not unpleasing, and I count- 
ed about a dozen factories of considerable size. The 
houses of the workmen had a clean and comfortable 
appearance. I was informed, however, by my fellow- 


travellers, that, within the last eighteen months, 
every establishment in the place had become bank- 
rupt; a proof, I should imagine, that the success of 
the Tariff system has not been very brilliant. 

During our journey there was a good deal of con- 
versation in the coach, in wh.ich, I was physically too 
uneasy to bear any considerable part. I was amused, 
however, at the astonishment of a young Connecti- 
cut farmer, when Captain Bennet informed him, 
that in England, the white birch-tree — which, in this 
part of the world, is regarded as a noxious weed — is 
protected in artificial plantations with great care. 
He was evidently incredulous, though he had before 
made no difficulty in believing the numerous absur- 
dities, in law, polity, and manners attributed, whe- 
ther with truth or otherwise, to my countrymen. 
But to plant the white birch-tree ! This, indeed, was 
beyond the limits of belief. 

The road, as we approached Boston, lay through 
a more populous country, and we passed a height, 
which commanded a fine view of the bay. At length, 
entering on a long street, I found myself again sur- 
rounded by the busy hum of a great city. The first 


impression was decidedly favourable. There is in 
Boston less of tliat rawness of outline, and inconsis- 
tency of architecture, which had struck me in New 
York. The truth is, that the latter has increased so 
rapidly, that nine-tenths of the city have been built 
within the last thirty years, and probably one half of 
it within a third of the period. In Boston, both 
wealth and population have advanced at a slower 
pace. A comparatively small portion of the city is 
new, and the hand of time has somewhat mellowed 
even its deformities, contributing to render that reve- 
rend which was originally rude. 

There is an air of gravity and solidity about Bos- 
ton ; and nothing gay or flashy, in the appearance of 
her streets, or the crowd who frequent them. New 
York is a young giantess, weighing twenty stone, and 
yet frisky withal. Boston, a matron of stayed and 
demure air, a little past her prime perhaps, yet 
showing no symptom of decay. The former is 
brisk, bustling, and annually outgrowing her petti- 
coats. The latter, fat, fair, and forty, a great 
breeder, but turning her children out of doors, as 
fast as she produces them. But it is an old and true 


apophthegm, that similes seldom run on all fours, 
and therefore it is generally prudent not to push 
them too far. 

Most gratifying is it to a traveller in the United 
States, when, sick to death of the discomforts of the 
road, he finds himself fairly housed in the Tremont 
Hotel. The establishment is on a large scalc; and 
admirably conducted. I had no difficulty in procu- 
ring a small but very comfortable suite of apartments, 
deficient in nothing which a single gentleman could 
require. What is more, I enjoyed the blessing of 
rational liberty, had command of my own hours and 
motions, in short, could eat, drink, or sleep, at what 
time, in what manner, and on what substances I 
might prefer. 

The truth is, that instead of being free, a large 
proportion of the American people live in a state of 
the most degrading bondage. No liberty of tongue 
can compensate for vassalage of stomach. In their 
own houses, perhaps, they may do as they please, 
though I much doubt whether any servants would 
consent to live in a family who adopted the barbarous 
innovation of dining at six o'clock, and breakfast- 


ing at eleven. But on the road, and in their hotels, 
they are assuredly any thing hut freemen. Their 
hours of rest and refection are there dictated hy 
Boniface, the most rigorous and iron-hearted of des- 
pots. And surely never was monarch blessed with 
more patient and obedient subjects ! He feeds them 
in droves like cattle. He rings a bell, and they 
come like dogs at their master's whistle. He places 
before them what he thinks proper, and they swal- 
low it without grumbling. His decrees are as those 
of fate, and the motto of his establishment is, " Sub- 
mit or starve." 

No man should travel in the United States with^ 
out one of Baraud's best chronometers in his fob. 
In no other country can a slight miscalculation of 
time be productive of so much mischief Woe to him 
whose steps have been delayed by pleasure or busi- 
ness, till the fatal hour has elapsed, and the dinner- 
cloth been removed. If he calculate on the emana- 
tion from the kitchen of smoking chop or spatchcock, 
he will be grievously deceived. Let him not look 
with contempt on half-coagulated soup, or fragments 
of cold fish, or the rhomboid of greasy pork, which 


has been reclaimed from the stock-barrel for his be- 
hoof. Let him accept in meekness what is set before 
him, or be content to go dinnerless for the day. Such 
are the horns of the dilemma, and he is free as air 
to choose on which he will be impaled.*' 

On the morning following my arrival, I despatch- 
ed my letters of introduction, and walked out to see 
the city. Of its appearance, I have already said 
something, but have yet a little more to say. Boston 
stands on an undulating surface, and is surrounded 

* It is fair, however, to state, that in the hotels in the greater 
cities, private apartments can generally be obtained. The charge for 
these is about as high as in London, and the privilege of separate 
meals is also to be paid for. To give the reader some idea of the 
expense of such mode of living in the United States, I may state, 
that in Neve York, with nothing but an inferior bedroom, and living 
at the public table, the charge for myself and servant was eighteen 
dollars a-week. At Boston, with three excellent rooms, and the 
privilege of private meals, it amounted, including every thing except 
wine, to thirty-five. At Philadelphia, I paid twenty-six dollars ; at 
Baltimore, twenty-eight ; at Washington, forty ; the extent of ac- 
commodation nearly equal in all. 

It is the invariable custom in the United States to charge by the 
day or week ; and travellers are thus obliged to pay for meals whe- 
ther they eat them or not. For a person who, like myself, rarely 
dined at home, I remember calculating the charge to be higher than 
in Long's, or the Clarendon. 


on three sides by the sea. The harbour is a magni- 
ficent basin, encircled by a beautiful country, rising 
in gentle acclivities, and studded with villas. There 
is nothing very handsome about the town, which is 
rather English in appearance, and might in truth be 
easily mistaken for one of our more populous sea- 
ports. A considerable number of the buildings are 
of granite, or, more properly speaking, of sienite, 
but brick is the prevailing material, and houses of 
framework are now rarely to be met with in the 
streets inhabited by the better orders. The streets 
are narrov/, and often crooked, yet, as already stated, 
they exhibit more finish and cleanliness than are to 
be found in New York. In architecture, I could 
discover little to admire. The State-house stands 
on an eminence commanding the city ; it is a massive 
square building, presenting in front a piazza of rus- 
ticated arches, surmounted by a gratuitous range of 
Corinthian columns, which support nothing. The 
building in front has a small attic with a pediment, 
and from the centre rises a dome, the summit of 
which is crowned by a square lantern. 

The Tremont hotel, and a church in the same 

J60 king's chapel. 

•street, are likewise pointed out to strangers as worthy 
of all the spare admiration at their disposal. The 
latter is a plain building, rather absurdly garnished, 
along its whole front, with a row of Ionic columns, 
stuck in close to the wall, which they are far from 
concealing; and, to increase the deformity, above 
these columns rises a naked square tower, intended, 
I presume, for a belfry. 

An anecdote connected with this place of worship, 
however, is worth preserving : It was formerly called 
the King's Chapel, and belonged to a congregation 
holding the tenets of the Church of England. In 
this state of things a rich old gentleman died, be- 
queathing, by his last testament, a considerable sum, 
to be expended in defraying the charge of a certain 
number of annual discourses " on the Trinity." The 
testator having lived and died in the communion of 
the Church of England, of course no doubt could be 
entertained of his intention in the bequest; but the 
revolution took place, and, at the restoration of 
peace, the congregation of the King's Chapel were 
found to have cast off both king and creed, and be- 
come not only Republicans in politics, but Unita- 



rians in religion. Under these circumstances, what 
was to be done with the legacy ? This did not long 
remain a moot point. It was discovered that an 
Unitarian could preach sermons on the Trinity as 
well as the most orthodox Athanasian that ever 
mounted a pulpit ; and the effect of the testator's 
zeal for the diffusion of pure faith, has been to en- 
courage the dissemination of doctrines, which of 
course he regarded as false and damnable ! The old 
gentleman had better have left his money to his re- 

I have been too well satisfied with the good living 
of the Tremont hotel, not to feel grieved to be com- 
pelled to speak disparagingly of its architecture. I 
beg to say, however, that I allude to it only because 
I have heard its construction gravely praised by men 
of talent and intelligence, as one of the proudest 
achievements of American genius. The edifice is of 
fine sienite, and I imagine few parts of the world can 
supply a more beautiful material for building. In 
front is a Doric portico of four columns, accurately 
proportioned, but, as usual, without pediment. These 
have not sufficient projection, and seem as if they 

VOL. I. o 


had been thrust back upon the walls of the building 
by the force of some gigantic steam-engine. The 
dining-hall, which is here the chief object of admi- 
ration, is defective, both in point of taste and pro- 
portion. The ceiling, in the first place, is too low ; 
and then the ranges of Ionic columns, which extend 
the whole length of the apartment, are mingled 
with Antse of the Composite order ; thus defacing, 
by the intermixture of a late Roman barbarism, the 
purer taste of Greece. But it were mere waste of 
time and patience to enlarge on such matters. 

My letters of introduction soon fructified into a 
plentiful harvest of visits and invitations. I dis- 
cerned, or thought I discerned, some difference of 
manner between the gentlemen of Boston and those 
of New York. For the first five minutes, perhaps, 
the former seemed less pleasing, but my opinion in 
this respect soon changed, and I certainly now class 
many of my Boston friends, not only among the 
most liberal and enlightened, but among the most 
agreeable men, I had the good fortune to encounter 
in my tour. 

My first visit was to a club, not professedly lite- 


rary, but which numbered among its members many 
of the most eminent individuals of the State. No- 
thing could exceed the kindness of my reception. 
Several gentlemen, on learning my objects in visiting 
their city, obligingly professed their readiness to pro- 
mote them by every means in their power, and I 
soon found that hospitality to strangers was by no 
means an exclusive attribute of New York. 

The day following being Sunday, I attended morn- 
ing service in one of the Episcopal churches. It 
was performed with great propriety to a congrega- 
tion generally composed of the better orders. In the 
evening I accompanied an amiable family to a church, 
of which the celebrated Dr Channing is the pastor. 
The Doctor, I learned, was then at Havannah, 
where he had accompanied Mrs Channing, whose 
health required a milder winter climate than that 
of New England. The tenets of the congregation 
are Unitarian, and the service is that of the Church 
of England, with the omission of all expressions 
which attribute divinity to our Saviour. Yet this, 
if not asserted, is not denied. It seems to have 
been the object to establish a service in which all 


sects and classes of Christians may conscientiously 
join, and which affirms nothing in regard to those 
points which afford matter of controversy to Theolo- 

Though the intentions of the framers of this ser- 
vice were obviously good, I am not sure that they 
have been guided by very just or philosophical views 
of the infirmities of human nature. The great bene- 
fit to be derived from public worship, is connected 
with the feeling of fellowship with those by whom 
we are surrounded, and that diffusive sentiment of 
charity and brotherhood, arising from community of 
faith. In the presence of God it is indeed proper 
that all minor differences should be forgotten ; but 
when these differences extend beyond a certain limit, 
and embrace the more sacred points of belief, I can 
understand no benefit which can arise from the com- 
mon adoption of a liturgy so mutilated, as to exclude 
all expression of that faith and those doctrines, which 
Christians in general regard as the very keystone of 
their hope. The value of prayer, perhaps, consists 
less 111 any influence it can be supposed to have on 
the decrees of an eternal and immutable Being, than 


in tliat wliicli it exercises over the heart and feelings 
of the worshipper. To exert this influence, it must 
be felt to be appropriate to our individual wants and 
necessities. It must not deal in vague generalities, 
nor petition only for those blessings in which the great 
body of mankind possess an equal interest. Like 
material objects, the human feelings become uniform- 
ly weakened by extension. We cannot pray for the 
whole of our species with the same earnestness that 
we petition for the prosperity of our country, and 
our supplications in behalf of our family are yet 
more ardent. There is a gradation of fervour for 
each link of the chain as it approaches nearer to our- 
selves, and it is only, perhaps, in imploring mercy 
for some one individual, that our feelings reach 
their climax of intensity. I have no faith in the 
efficacy of a system of devotion founded on the ab- 
stract principles of philosophy. The religious wor- 
ship of mankind must be accommodated to their 
infirmities. The prayer which is adapted to all sects 
can evidently express the faith or sentiments of none. 
The liturgy was plainly, but effectively, read by 
the Rev. Mr Greenwood, whom I had the pleasure 

166 CAUSES or the prevalence 

of ranking among my acquaintance. The sermon 
was elegant, but somewhat cold and unemphatic. 
Indeed, how could it be otherwise ? An Unitarian is 
necessarily cut off from all appeals to those deeper 
sources of feeling, which, in what is called Evange- 
lical preaching, are found to produce such powerful 
effects. No spirit was ever strongly moved by a 
discourse on the innate beauty of virtue, or argu- 
ments in favour of moral purity drawn from the har- 
mony of the external world. The inference that 
man should pray, because the trees blossom and the 
birds sing, is about as little cogent in theory as the 
experience of mankind has proved it in practice. 
The sequitur would be quite as good, were it asserted 
that men should wear spectacles because bears eat 
horse-flesh, and ostriches lay eggs in the sand. Bat, 
admitting the conclusion to be clear as the daylight, 
the disease of human depravity is too strong to be 
overcome by the administration of such gentle alter- 
atives. Recourse must be had to stronger medi- 
cines, and these, unfortunately, the chest of the 
Unitarian does not furnish. 

Boston is the metropolis of Unitarianism. In no 


other city has it taken root so deeply, or spread its 
branches so widely. Fully half of the population, 
and more than half of the wealth and intelligence of 
Boston, are found in this communion. I was at one 
time puzzled to account for this ; but my journey to 
New England has reinoved the difficulty. The New 
Englanders are a cold, shrewd, calculating, and in- 
genious people, of phlegmatic temperament, and per- 
haps have in their composition less of the stuff of 
which enthusiasts are made, than any other in the 
world. In no other part of the globe, not even in 
Scotland, is morality at so high a premium. No- 
where is undeviating compliance with public opi- 
nion so unsparingly enforced. The only lever by 
which people of this character can be moved, is that 
of argument. A New Englander is far more a being 
of reason than of impulse. Talk to him of what is 
high, generous, and noble, and he will look on you 
with a vacant countenance. But tell him of what is 
just, proper, and essential to his ov/n well-being or 
that of his family, and he is all ear. His faculties 
are always sharp ; his feelings are obtuse. 

Unitarianism is the democracy of religion. Its 


creed makes fewer demands on the faith or the ima- 
gination, than that of any other Christian sect. It 
appeals to human reason in every step of its pro- 
gress, and while it narrows the compass of miracle, 
enlarges that of demonstration. Its followers have 
less higotry than other religionists, because they 
have less enthusiasm. They refuse credence to the 
doctrine of one grand and universal atonement, and 
appeal to none of those sudden and preternatural 
impulses which have given assurance to the pious of 
other sects. An Unitarian will take nothing for 
granted but the absolute and plenary efficacy of his 
own reason in matters of religion. He is not a fana- 
tic, but a dogmatist; one who will admit of no dis- 
tinction between the incomprehensible and the false. 
With such views of the Bostonians and their pre- 
vailing religion, I cannot help believing, that there 
exists a curious felicity of adaptation in both. The 
prosperity of Unitarianism in the New England 
States, seems a circumstance, which a philosophical 
observer of national character, might, with no great 
difficulty, have predicted. Jonathan chose his reli- 
gion, as one does a hat, because it fitted him. We 


believe, however, that his head has not yet attained 
its full size, and confidently anticipate that its speedy 
enlargement will erelong induce him to adopt a bet- 
ter and more orthodox covering. 

One of my first morning's occupations was to visit 
Cambridge University, about three miles distant. In 
this excursion I had the advantage of being accom- 
panied by Professor Ticknor, who obligingly con- 
ducted me over every part of the establishment. 
The buildings, though not extensive, are commo- 
dious ; and the library — the largest in the United 
States — contains about 30,000 volumes; no very 
imposing aggregate. The academical course is com- 
pleted in four years, at the termination of which the 
candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts are 
admitted to that honour, after passing the ordeal of 
examination. In three years more, the degree of 
Master may — as in the English Universities — be 
taken as matter of course. There are three terms in 
the year, the intervals between which amount to 
about three months. The number of students is 
somewhat under two hundred and fifty. These have 
the option of either living more academico in tlie 

VOL. I. p 


college, or of boarding" in houses in the neighbour- 
hood. No religious tenets are taught ; but the reg- 
nant spirit is unquestionably Unitarian. In extent, 
in opulence, and in number of students, the esta- 
blisliment is not equal even to the smallest of our 
Scottish Universities. 

On leaving Cambridge, we drove to Bunker's 
Hill, celebrated as the spot on which the first colli- 
sion took place between the troops of the mother- 
country and her rebellious colonists. It is a strong 
position, and if duly strengthened by intrenchments, 
might be defended against an enemy of much supe- 
rior force. On the summit of this height, a monu- 
ment to the memory of Washington was in progress. 
A more appropriate site could not have been selected. 
But tributes of stone or brass are thrown away upon 
Washington. Si monwnentum qucBris, ciixumspice. 

Our next visit was to the navy- yard, an establish- 
ment of considerable extent. There were two seven- 
ty-fours on the stocks, and, if I remember rightly, 
a frigate and a sloop. A dry-dock had nearly been 
completed of size sufficient to receive the largest 
line-of-battle ship. Commodore Morris, the com- 
mandant, was obligingly communicative, and, in the 


course even of a short conversation, afforded abun- 
dant proof, that his acquirements were very far from 
being exclusively professional. 

On the day following, I went, accompanied by a 
very kind friend, to see the State-prison at Charles- 
ton. The interesting description given by Captain 
Hall of the prison at Sing- Sing had raised my curio- 
sity, and I felt anxious to inspect an establishment, 
conducted on the same general principle, and with 
some improvements in detail. It was difficult to 
conceive, that a system of discipline so rigid could 
be maintained, without a degree of severity, revolt- 
ing to the feelings. That hundreds of men should 
live together for years in the daily association of la- 
bour, under such a rigorous and unbroken system of 
restraint, as to prevent them during all that period 
from holding even the most trifling intercourse, 
seemed a fact so singular, and in sucli direct opposi- 
tion to the strongest propensities of human nature, 
as to require strong evidence to establish its credibi- 
lity. I was glad to take advantage, therefore, of the 
first opportunity to visit the prison at Charleston, 
and the scene there presented, was unquestionably 


one of the most striking I have ever witnessed. 
Pleasant it was not, for it cannot he so to witness 
the degradation and sufferings of one's fellow-crea- 

In no part of the establishment, however, was 
there any thing squalid or offensive. The gaoler — 
one expects hard features in such an official — was a 
man of mild expression, but of square and sinewy 
frame. He had formerly been skipper of a merchant- 
man, and it was impossible to compliment him on 
the taste displayed in his change of profession. Be- 
fore proceeding on the circuit of the prison, he com- 
municated some interesting details in regard to its 
general management, and the principles on which it 
was conducted. 

The prisoners amounted to nearly three hundred ; 
the keepers were only fourteen. The disparity of 
force, therefore, was enormous ; and as the system 
adopted was entirely opposed to that of solitary con- 
finement, it did, at first sight, seem strange that the 
convicts — the greater part of whom were men of 
the boldest and most abandoned character — should 
not take advantage of their vast physical superio- 


rity, and, by murdering the keepers, regain their 
liberty. A cheer, a cry, a signal, would be enough ; 
they had weapons in their hands, and it required but 
a momentary effort of one-tenth of their number, to 
break the chains of perhaps the most galling bon- 
dage to which human beings were ever subjected. 

In what then consisted the safety of the goaler 
and his assistants ? In one circumstance alone. In a 
surveillance so strict and unceasing, as to render it 
physically impossible, by day or night, for the pri- 
soners to hold the slightest communication, without 
discovery. They set their lives upon this cast. 
They knew the penalty of the slightest negligence, 
and they acted like men who knew it. 

The buildings enclose a quadrangle of about two 
hundred feet square. One side is occupied by a build- 
ing, in which are the cells of the prisoners. It con- 
tains three hundred and four solitary cells, built 
altogether of stone, and arranged in four stories. 
Each cell is secured by a door of wrought iron. 
On the sides where the cell-doors present them- 
selves, are stone galleries, three feet wide, supported 
by cast-iron pillars. These galleries extend the whole 


length of the building, and encircle three sides of 
these ranges of cells. The fourth presents only 
a perpendicular wall, without galleries, stairs, or 
doors. Below, and exterior to the cells and galleries, 
runs a passage nine feet broad, from which a com- 
plete view of the whole can be commanded. 

The cells have each a separate ventilator. They are 
seven feet long, three feet six inches wide, and con- 
tain each an iron bedstead. On one side consider- 
ably elevated, is a safety watch-box, with an alarum- 
bell, at the command only of the gaoler on duty. In 
front of the building, or rather between the building 
and the central quadrangle, is the kitchen, commu- 
nicating, by doors and windows, with a passage, 
along which the prisoners must necessarily travel 
in going to, or returning from their cells. Adjoining 
is a chapel, in which the convicts attend prayers 
twice a-day. 

In regard to the system of discipline enforced in 
this interesting establishment, it may be better de- 
scribed in other words than my own. The following 
is an extract from the annual report of the Boston 
Prison Discipline Society : — " From the locking up 


at night till daylight, all the convicts, except an ave- 
rage of about five in the hospital, are in the new 
building, in separate cells, and in cells so arranged, 
that a sentinel on duty can preserve entire silence 
among three hundred. The space around the cells be- 
ing open from the ground to the roof, in front of four 
stories of cells, in a building two hundred feet in 
length, furnishes a perfect sounding gallery, in 
which the sentinel is placed, who can hear a whis- 
per from the most distant cell. He can, therefore, 
keep silence from the time of locking up at night 
to the time of unlocking in the morning, which, 
at some seasons of the year, makes more than one 
half of all the time, which is thus secured from 
evil communication. From the time of unlocking in 
the morning, about twelve minutes are occupied in 
a military movement of the convicts, in companies 
of thirty-eight, with an officer to each company, in 
perfect silence, to their various places of labour. At 
the end of that period, it is found that there is a 
place for every man, and every man in his place. 
This is as true of the officers as of the convicts. If 
an officer have occasion to leave his place, the system 


requires that a substitute be called ; if a convict have 
occasion to leave his place, there is a token provided 
for each shop, or for a given number of men, so that 
from this shop or number only one convict can leave 
his place at a time. The consequence is, that with 
the exception of those who have the tokens in their 
hands, any officer of the institution may be certain 
of finding, during the hours of labour, a place for 
every man, and every man in his place. There is, 
liowever, a class of men, consisting of ten or twelve, 
called runners and lumpers, whose duty consists in 
moving about the yard. But even their movements 
are in silence and order. Consequently, during the 
hours of labour, the convicts are never seen moving 
about the yard promiscuously, or assembled in little 
groups, in some hiding-places of mischief, or even 
two and two in common conversation. All is order 
and silence, except the busy noise of industry during 
the hours of labour. 

" The hours of labour in the morning vary a little 
with the season of the year, but amount at this sea- 
son to nearly two hours, from the time of unlocking 
in the morning till breakfast. When the hour for. 


breakfast comes, almost in an instant the convicts 
are all seen marching in solid and silent columns, 
with the lock-step, under their respective officers, 
from the shops to the cells. On their way to the 
cells they pass the cookery, where the food, having 
been made ready, is handed to them as they pass 
along ; and at the end of about twelve minutes, from 
the time of ringing the bell for breakfast, all the 
convicts are in their cells eating their breakfasts, 
silently and alone. One officer only is left in charge 
to preserve silence, and the others are as free from 
solicitude and care, till the hour for labour returns, 
as other citizens. 

" When the time of labour again returns, which 
is at the end of about twenty-five minutes, almost in 
an instant the whole body of convicts are again seen 
marching as before to their places of labour. On 
their way to the shops, they pass through the chapel 
and attend prayers. The time from breakfast till 
dinner passes away like the time for labour before 
breakfast, all the convicts being found in their places 
industriously employed, in silence. The time assign- 
ed for dinner is filled up in the same manner as the 


time assigned for breakfast ; and the time for labour 
in the afternoon in the same manner as the time for 
labour in the morning ; and when the time for even- 
ing prayers has come, at the ringing of the bell, all 
the convicts, and all the officers not on duty else- 
where, are seen marching to the chapel, where the 
chaplain closes the day with reading the Scriptures 
and prayei*. After which the convicts march with 
perfect silence and order to their cells, taking their 
supper as they pass along. In about five -and- twenty 
minutes from the time of leaving their labour, the 
convicts have attended prayers in the chapel, taken 
their supper, marched to their cells with their supper 
in their hands, and are safely locked up for the night. 
This is the history of a day at Charleston ; and the 
history of a day is the history of a year, with the 
variations which are made on the Sabbath, by dis- 
pensing with the hours of labour, and substituting 
the hours for instruction in the Sabbath- School, and 
the hours for public worship." 

We had hardly time to examine the arrangement 
of the cells when the dinner-bell sounded, and is- 
suing out into the quadrangle, the whole prisoners 


marched past in imposing military array. In pass- 
ing the kitchen, each man's dinner was thrust out 
on a sort of ledge, from which it was taken without 
any interruption of his progress. In less than two 
minutes they were in their " deep solitudes and aw- 
ful cells," and employed in the most agreeable duty 
of their day — dinner. I again entered the building, 
to listen for the faintest whisper. None was to be 
heard ; the silence of the desert could not be deeper. 
In about half an hour another bell rang, and the 
prisoners were again a-foot. The return to labour 
differed in nothing from the departure from it ; but 
the noise of saws, axes, and hammers, soon showed 
they were now differently employed. 

The gaoler next conducted us through the work- 
shops. Each trade had a separate apartment. The 
masons were very numerous ; so were the carpenters 
and coopers. The tailors were employed in making 
clothes for their companions in misfortune, and the 
whole establishment had the air rather of a well- 
conducted manufactory than of a prison. There 
was nothing of deep gloom, but a good deal of cal- 
lous indifference generally observable in the counte- 


nances of the convicts. In some, however, I thought 
I did detect evidence of overwhelming depression. 
Yet this might be imagination, and when I pointed 
out the individuals to the gaoler, he assiu'ed me I was 

The prisoners are allowed to hold no intercourse 
of any kind, with the world beyond the walls which 
enclose them. It is a principle invariably adhered to, 
that they shall be made to feel, that during their con- 
finement — and many are confined for life — they are 
beings cut off even from the commonest sympathies 
of mankind. I know not but that severity in this 
respect has been carried too far. If they are again 
to be turned out upon society, is it not injudicious, 
as it is cruel policy, to trample on the affections 
even of these depraved and guilty beings, and to 
send them forth with every tie broken which might 
have acted as a motive to reformation ? What can 
be expected from men so circumstanced, but that 
they will renew their former courses, or plunge into 
guilt yet deeper. On the other hand, if they are to 
be immured for life, the punishment can be consi- 
dered little better than a gratuitous barbarity. But 


the great evil is, that on the utterly abandoned it 
falls lightly. It is the heart guilty, yet not hardened 
in guilt, which is still keenly alive to the gentler 
and purer affections, that it crushes with an oppres- 
sion truly withering. And can no penalty be dis- 
covered more appropriate for the punishment of the 
sinner, than one which falls directly and exclusively 
on the only generous sympathies which yet link him 
to his fellow-men ? Why should he be treated like 
a brute, whose very sufferings prove him to be a 
man ? 

The whole produce of the labour of the prisoners 
belongs to the state. No portion of it is allowed to 
the prisoner on his discharge. This regulation may 
be judicious in America, where the demand for la- 
bour is so great, that every man ma}-, at any time, 
command employment; but in Great Britain it is 
different, and there to turn out a convict on the 
world, penniless, friendless, and without character, 
would be to limit his choice to the alternative of 
stealing or starving. 

Of course, a system of discipline so rigorous could 
not be enforced without a power of punishment, 


almost arbitrary, being vested in tbe gaoler. The 
slightest infraction of the prison rules, therefore, is 
uniformly followed by severe infliction. There is no 
pardon, and no impunity for offenders of any sort ; 
and here, as elsewhere, the certainty of punishment 
following an offence is found very much to diminish 
the necessity for its frequency. There is great evil, 
however, in this total irresponsibility on the part of 
the gaoler. There is no one to whom the convict, if 
unjustly punished, can complain, and a power is in- 
trusted to an uneducated man, possibly of strong 
passions, which the wisest and best of mankind 
would feel himself unfit to exercise. I cannot help 
thinking, therefore, that a board of inspectors should 
assemble at least monthly at the prison, in order to 
hear all complaints that may be made against the 
gaoler. There is no doubt that this unpopular func- 
tionary would be subject to many false and frivo- 
lous accusations. The latter, however, may always 
be dismissed without trouble of any sort, but all 
plausible charges should receive rigid and impartial 
examination. The circumstances connected with 
the Charleston prison are precisely the most favour- 


able for tlie attainment of truth. There can be no 
concert among the witnesses to be examined, no 
system of false evidence got up, no plotting, no 
collusion. Here coincidence of testimony could be 
explained only on the hypothesis of its truth ; and 
this circumstance must be quite as favourable to the 
gaoler as to the prisoners. The former could never 
want the means of vindication, if falsely impeached. 
I had a good deal of conversation with the gaoler 
in regard to the effects produced by the system on 
the morals of the convicts. He at once admitted 
that any material improvement of character in full- 
grown offenders was rarely to be expected, but main- 
tained that the benefit of the Charleston system, 
even in this respect, was fully greater than had been 
found to result from any other plan adopted in the 
United States. His experience had not led him to 
anticipate much beneficial consequence from the 
system of solitary confinement. He had seen it 
often tried, but the prisoners on their liberation had 
almost uniformly relapsed into their former habits 
of crime. One interesting anecdote which occurred 
under his own observation, I shall here record. 


Many years ago, long before the establisbment of 
the present prison system, a man of respectable con- 
nexions, but of the most abandoned habits, was con- 
victed of burglary, and arrived at Charleston jail, 
under sentence of imprisonment for life. His spirit 
was neither humbled by the punishment nor the 
disgrace. His conduct towards the keepers was 
violent and insubordinate, and it was soon found 
necessary, for the maintenance of discipline, that he 
should be separated from his fellow-prisoners, and 
placed in solitary confinement. For the first year he 
was sullen and silent, and the clergyman who fre- 
quently visited him in his cell, found his mind imper- 
vious to all religious impression. But by degrees a 
change took place in his deportment. His manner 
became mild and subdued; he was often found read- 
ing the Scriptures, and both gaoler and chaplain 
congratulated themselves on the change of character 
so manifest in the prisoner. He spoke of his past 
life, and the fearful offences in which it had abound- 
ed, with suitable contrition, and expressed his grati- 
tude to God, that, instead of being snatched away in 
the midst of his crimes, time had been afforded him 


for repentance, and the attainment of faith in that 
grand and prevailing atonement, by the efficacy of 
which even the greatest of sinners might look for 

Nothing in short could be more edifying than this 
man's conduct and conversation. All who saw him 
became interested in the fate of so meek a Christian, 
and numerous applications were made to the Gover- 
nor of the State for his pardon. The Governor, with 
such weight of testimony before him, naturally in- 
clined to mercy, and in a few weeks the man would 
have been undoubtedly liberated, when one day, in 
the middle of a religious conversation, he sprang 
upon the keeper, stabbed him in several places, and 
having cut his throat, attempted to escape. 

The attempt failed. The neophyte in morality 
was brought back to his cell, and loaded with heavy 
irons. In this condition he remained many years, 
of course without the slightest hope of liberation. 
At length, his brother-in-law, a man of influence 
and fortune in South Carolina, made application to 
the authorities of Massachusetts on his behalf. He 

VOL. I. Q 


expressed bis readiness to provide for Lis unfortunate 
relative, and, if liberated, be promised, on his arrival 
in Charleston, to place bim in a situation above all 
temptation to return to bis former crimes, 

Tbis offer was accepted ; tbe prisoner was set at 
liberty, and tbe goaler, wbo told me tbe anecdote, 
was directed to see bim safely on board of a Charles- 
ton packet, in which due provision bad been made 
for bis reception. His imprisonment had extended to 
tbe long period of twenty years, during which be had 
never once breathed tbe pure air of heaven, nor 
gazed on tbe sun or sky. In tbe interval, Boston, 
which be remembered as a small town, bad grown 
into a large city. Its advance in opulence bad been 
still more rapid. In every thing there bad been a 
change. Tbe appearance, manners, habits, thoughts, 
prejudices, and opinions of tbe generation then living, 
were different from all to which be bad been accus- 
tomed. Nor was tbe aspect of external objects less 
altered. Streets of framework cottages had been 
replaced by handsome squares, and stately edifices of 
brick. Gay equipages, such as be never remembered, 
met bis observation at every turn. In short, be felt 


like the inhabitant of another planet, suddenly cast 
into a world of which he knew nothing. 

My informant— I wish I could give the story in 
his own words— described well and feelingly the 
progress of the man's impressions. A coach had 
been provided for his conveyance to the packet. On 
first entering it he displayed no external symptom 
of emotion ; but as the carriage drove on, he gazed 
from the window, endeavouring to recognise the fea- 
tures of the scenery. But in vain ; he looked for 
marsh and forest, and he beheld streets ; he expect- 
ed to cross a poor ferry, and the carriage rolled over 
a magnificent bridge ; he looked for men as he had 
left them, and he saw beings of aspect altogether 
different. Where were the great men of the State- 
house and the Exchange— the aristocracy of the dol- 
lar bags— the Cincinnati of the Revolution, who 
brought to the counting-house the courtesies of the 
camp and the parade, and exhibited the last and 
noblest specimens of the citizen gentleman ? They 
had gone down to their fathers full of years and of 
honour, and their descendants had become as the 
sons of other men. Queues, clubs, periwigs, shoe- 


buckles, hair-powder, and cocked hats, had fled to 
some other and more dignified world. The days of 
dram-drinking and tobacco-chewing, of gaiters, trow- 
sers, and short crops, had succeeded. The latter 
circumstances, indeed, might not have occasioned 
the poor relieved convict any great concern, but the 
whole scene was too much for him to bear unmoved. 
His spirit was weighed down by a feeling of intense 
solitude, and he burst into tears. 

The remainder of the story may be told in a few 
Avords. He reached Charleston, where his brother 
placed him in a respectable boarding-house, and 
supplied him with necessaries of every kind. His 
conduct for the first year was all that could be de- 
sired. But at length in an evil hour he was induced 
to visit New York. He there associated with pro- 
fligate companions, and relapsing into his former 
habits, was concerned in a burglary, for which he 
was tried and convicted. He is now in the prison 
at Sing- Sing, under sentence of imprisonment for 
life, and from death only can he hope for liberation. 

The gaoler told me this anecdote, as a proof how 
little amendment of the moral character is to be ex- 


pectedfrom solitary confinement. The case undoubt- 
edly is a strong one, yet, of all tlie systems of punish- 
ment hitherto devised, the entire isolation of the cri- 
minal from his fellow-men, — if judicious advantage 
be taken of the opportunities it affords, and the state 
of mind which it can scarcely fail to produce, — 
seems that which is most likely to be attended with 
permanent reformation. The great objection to the 
Auburn and Charleston system, is, that the prison- 
ers are treated like brutes, and any lurking sense of 
moral dignity is destroyed. Each individual is not 
only degraded in his own eyes, but in those of his 
companions; and it appears impossible that a cri- 
minal, once subjected to such treatment, should ever 
after be qualified to discharge, with advantage to his 
country, the duties of a citizen. Solitary confine- 
ment, on the other hand, has necessarily no such 
consequence; it at once obviates all occasion for 
corporal punishment, and for the exercise of arbi- 
trary and irresponsible power on the part of the 
gaoler. The prisoner, on his liberation, is restored 
to society, humbled, indeed, by long suffering, yet 


not utterly degraded below the level of his fellow- 

On the whole, the system of discipline I have wit- 
nessed at Charleston must be considered as a curious 
experiment, illustrating the precise degree of coer- 
cion necessary to destroy the whole influence of hu- 
man volition, and reduce man to the condition of a 
machine. How far it accomplishes the higher objects 
contemplated in the philosophy of punishment, is a 
question which demands more consideration than I 
have at present time or inclination to bestow on it. 
I anticipate, however, having occasion to return to 
the subject, in narrating my visit to the Penitentiary 
at Philadelphia. 




The New England States are the great seat of 
manufactures in the Union ; and in Boston especially, 
it is impossible to mix at all in society without hear- 
ing discussions on the policy of the Tariff Bill. I 
was prepared to encounter a good deal of higotry on 
this subject, but on the whole found less than I ex- 
pected. Of course, here, as elsewhere, men will argue 
strenuously and earnestly on the policy of a mea- 
sure, with which they know their own interests to 
be inseparably connected; but both the advocates 
and opponents of the Tariff are to be found mingled 
very sociably at good men's feasts, and I have not 
been able to discover that antagonism of opinion has 
been in any degree productive of hostility of feeling. 


On this question, as on many others, the weight 
of numbers is on one side, and that of sound argu- 
ment on the other. It is the observation, I think, of 
Hobbes, that were it to become the interest of any 
portion of the human race to deny the truth of a 
proposition in Euclid, by no power of demonstration 
could it ever after command universal assent. This 
may be going too far, but we know how difficult it 
is, in the less certain sciences, to influence the under- 
standing of those in favour of a conclusion, whose 
real or imagined interests must be injuriously affect- 
ed by its establishment. Truths cease to be palpable 
when they touch a man's prejudices or his pocket, 
and patriotism is generally found at a premium or a 
discount, precisely as it happens to be connected with 
profit or loss. 

It was not to be expected, therefore, that a ques- 
tion affecting the various and conflicting interests of 
different classes of men should be discussed in a very 
calm or philosophical spirit. " The American sys- 
tem," as it is called, was strenuously supported by 
the rich northern merchants, who expected to find 
in manufactures a new and profitable investment for 


their capital ; and by the farmers, who expected to 
realize better prices for their wool and corn than 
could be commanded in the English market. It was 
opposed with at least equal vehemence by the plant- 
ers of the Southern States, who regarded England as 
their best customer, and who must have been the 
chief sufferers had these measures of restriction been 
met by retaliation. Of course, as no manufactures 
of any kind exist south of the Potomac, the inha- 
bitants of that extensive region were by no means 
satisfied of the justice of a policy, which, by increa- 
sing the price of all foreign commodities, had the 
effect of transferring money from their pockets to 
those of the New England monopolists. The Tariff 
Bill encountered strong opposition in both houses of 
the Legislature, but the representatives of the West- 
ern States having declared in its favour, it eventually 
passed, though by narrow majorities, and became 

The passing of this bill inflicted a deep wound 
on the stability of the Union. The seeds of dissen- 
sion among the different States had long been dif- 

VOL. I. R 


fused, and now began to exhibit signs of rapid and 
luxuriant growth. The inhabitants of the South- 
ern States were almost unanimous against the law. 
Their representatives not only protested loudly 
against its injustice, but declared, that in imposing 
duties, not for the sake of revenue but protection, 
Congress had wantonly exceeded its powers, and 
violated one of the fundamental principles of the 
constitution. Thus arose the celebrated doctrine of 
nullification, or, in other words, the assertion of an 
independent power in each State of the Union, to 
decide for itself on the justice of the measures of the 
Federal government, and to declare null, within its 
own limits, any act of the Federal Congress which it 
may consider as an infraction of its separate rights. 
To this great controversy, affecting in its very 
principle the cohesion of the different states, I shall 
not at present do more than allude. It does, how- 
ever, appear abundantly clear, that if there ever 
was a country in which it is injudicious to trammel 
industry with artificial restrictions, that country is 
the United States. Covering a vast extent of fertile 
territory, and advancing in wealth and population 


with a rapidity altogether unparalleled, it seems only 
necessary to the happiness and prosperity of this 
favoured people, that they should refrain from coun- 
teracting the beneficence of nature, and tranquilly 
enjoy the many blessings which she has placed within 
their reach. ' But this, unfortunately, is precisely 
what American legislators are not inclined to do. 
They seem determined to have a prosperity of their 
own making ; to set up rival Birminghams and 
Manchesters ; and in spite of *' nature and their 
stars," to become, without delay, a great manufac- 
turing, as well as a great agricultural nation. 

But such things as Birmingham and Manchester 
are not to be created by an act of Congress. They 
can arise only under a vast combination of favour- 
able circumstances, the approach of Avhich may be 
retarded, but cannot possibly be accelerated, by a 
system of restrictions. They would undoubtedly 
have arisen far sooner in England, but for the igno- 
rant adoption of the very policy which the Americans 
have now thought it expedient to imitate. But there 
is this excuse at least for our ancestors : The policy 
they adopted was in the spirit of their age. They 


did not seek to revive the exploded dogmas of a 
coiintr)'^ or a period less enlightened than their own ; 
and it can only be charged against them, that in 
seeking to gain a certain object, with but few and 
scattered lights to guide their footsteps, they went 

But to such palliation the conduct of the Ame- 
rican legislators has no claim. With the path before 
them clear as daylight, they have preferred entangling 
themselves in thickets and quagmires. Like chil- 
dren, they have closed their eyes, and been content 
to believe that all is darkness. Living in one age, 
they have legislated in the spirit of another, and 
their blunders want even the merit of originality. 
They have exchanged their own comfortable clothing 
for the cast-off garments of other men, and strangely 
appeal to their antiquity as evidence of their value. 

The appeal to English precedent may have some 
weight as an argumentum ad hominem, but as an argu- 
mentum veritatis it can have none. We cheerfully 
admit, that there is no absurdity so monstrous, as to 
want a parallel in the British statute-book. We only 
hope that we are outgrowing our errors, and profit- 


ingf however tardily, by our own experience and 
that of the world. But even this praise the advo- 
cates of American monopoly are not inclined to 
allow us. They charge us with bad faith in our com- 
mercial reforms ; with arguing on one side, and act- 
ing on the other; and allege, that our statesmen, 
with the words free trade constantly on their lips, are 
still guided in their measures, by the spirit of that 
antiquated policy, which they so loudly condemn. 

Enough of allovA^ance, however, has not been made 
for the difficulties of their situation. Our legisla- 
tors, it should be remembered, had to deal with vast 
interests, which had grown up under the exclusive 
system so long and rigidly adhered to. Any great 
and sudden change in our commercial policy would 
have been ruinous and unjust. It was necessary that 
the transition should be gradual, even to a healthier 
regimen ; that men's opinions should be conciliated, 
and that time should be afforded for the adjustment 
of vested interests to the new circumstances of com- 
petition which awaited them. The question was far 
less as to the truth or soundness of certain abstract 
doctrines of political economy, than by what means 


changes affecting the disposition of the whole capital 
of the country, could be introduced with least injury 
and alarm. 

Those only who have minutely followed the pub- 
lic life of Mr Huskisson during the last ten years, 
can duly estimate the magnitude of the obstacles 
with which at every step of his progress he had to 
contend. In truth, we know not any portion of 
history which would better repay the study of Ame- 
rican statesmen. They will there acquire some 
knowledge of the difficulties, which assuredly, sooner 
or later, they will be compelled to encounter. They 
will learn, that a system of prohibition cannot be 
abandoned with the same ease with which it was ori- 
ginally assumed. Their first advance in the course 
on which they have entered may be prosperous, 
but their retreat must necessarily be disastrous. 
They will have to endure the reproaches of the bank- 
rupt manufacturers. They will have the punishment 
of beholding a large proportion of the capital of their 
country irrecoverably lost. They will be assailed by 
the clamour and opposition of men of ruined for- 
tunes and disappointed hopes, and while they 


lament the diminution of tlieir country's prosperity, 
even tlieir self-love will scarcely secure tliera from 
the conviction of its being attributable solely to 
their own selfish and ignorant policy. 

In no country in the world, perhaps, could the 
prohibitory system be tried with less prospect of 
success than in the United States. The vast extent 
of territory alone presents an insuperable obstacle to 
its enforcement. The statesmen of England had no 
such difficulty to struggle with. They had to legis- 
late for a small, compact, and insular country, in 
which there existed no such diversity of climate or 
of interest as to create much inequality of pressure 
in any scheme, however unreasonable, of indirect 
taxation. In England, there are no provincial jea- 
lousies to be reconciled, no rivalries or antipathies 
between different portions of the kingdom, and the 
facilities of communication are already so great as 
to give promise that the word distance will be speedily 
ei-ased from our vocabulary. 

But in America all this is different. Those err 
egregiously who regard the population of the United 
States as an uniform whole, composed throughout 


of similar materials, and whose patriotic attachment 
embraces the whole territory between the Missis- 
sippi and the Penobscot. An American is not a 
being of strong local attachments, and the slightest 
temptation of profit is always strong enough to in- 
duce him to quit his native State, and break all the 
ties which are found to operate so powerfully on 
other men. Entire disparity of circumstances and 
situation between the Northern and Southern States 
have, besides, produced considerable alienation of 
feeling in their inhabitants ; and disputes, arising 
from differences of soil and climate, are evidently 
beyond the control of legislative interference. The 
Georgian or Carolinian, therefore, lives in a state of 
the most profound indifference with regard to the 
prosperity of New England, or rather, perhaps, is 
positively jealous of any increase of wealth or ])opu- 
lation, by which that portion of the Union may ac- 
quire additional influence in the national councils. 
To the people of the Southern States, therefore, 
any indirect taxation, imposed for the benefit of the 
Northern, must be doubly odious. The former wish 
only to buy where they can buy cheapest, and to sell 


where tliey can find the best market for their pro- 
duce. Besides, they are violent and high-spirited, 
strong republicans, and averse from any unnecessary 
exercise of power on the part of the Federal govern- 
ment. England is their great customer, and the 
planter can entertain no reasonable hope of opulence 
which is not founded on her prosperity. Such are 
the discordant materials with which Congress has to 
deal, and which visionary legislators have vainly 
attempted to unite in cordial support of " the Ame- 
rican system." 

It is obvious, that a legislature which enters on 
a system of protection-duties, assumes the exercise 
of a power with which no wise men would wish 
to be intrusted, and which it is quite impossible 
they can exercise with advantage. They, in fact, 
assume the direction of the whole industry and ca- 
pital of the country ; dictate in what channels they 
shall flow ; arbitrarily enrich one class at the expense 
of another ; tax the many for the benefit of the few, 
and, in short, enter on a policy, which, if followed 
by other countries, would necessarily put a stop to 
all commerce, and throw each nation on its indivi- 


dual resources. There can be no reductio ad ahsur- 
diim more complete. The commercial intercourse 
of nations would be annihilated were there a dozen 
governments in the world actuated by a cupidity so 
blind and uncalculating. It is, besides, impossible 
that any system of protection can add any thing to the 
productive industry of a people. The utmost it can 
effect is the transference of labour and capital from 
one branch of employment to another. It simply 
holds out a bribe to individuals to divert their in- 
dustry from the occupations naturally most profit- 
able, to others which are less so. This cannot be 
done without national loss. The encouragement 
which is felt in one quarter, must be accompanied by 
at least equal depression in another. The vv^hole 
commercial system is made to rest on an insecure 
and artificial foundation, and the capital of the coun- 
try, which has been influenced in its distribution, by 
a temporary and contingent impulse, may, at any 
moment, be paralysed by a change of system. 

It is impossible, therefore, as matters now stand 
in America, that the manufacturing capitalists can 
look with any feeling of security to the future. They 


know, that the sword which is suspended over them 
hangs only by a haii', and may fall at any time. A 
large portion of the Union are resolutely, and almost 
unanimously, opposed to the continuance of the sys- 
tem. The monopolists, therefore, can ground their 
speculations on no hope but that of large and imme- 
diate profits, and the expectation, that should the 
present Tariff continue in force but a few years, they 
will, in that period, not only have realized the ori- 
ginal amount of their investments, but a return suf- 
ficiently large to compensate for all the hazards of 
the undertaking. It is from the pockets of their fel- 
low-subjects that they look for this enormous reim- 
bursement ; and, in a general point of view, perhaps, 
it matters little how much of the wealth of Virginia 
and the Carolinas may be transferred to New Eng- 
land, since the aggregate of national opulence would 
continue unchanged. One great and unmitigated 
evil of the Tariff-tax, however, consists in this, that 
while it is unjust and oppressive in its operation, it 
destroys far more capital than it sends into the cof- 
fers either of the Government or of individuals. All 
that portion of increased price which proceeds from 


increased difficulty of production in any article, is 
precisely so much of the national capital annihilated 
without benefit of any sort. 

But, in truth, the exclusion of British goods from 
the Union is impossible. The extent of the Cana- 
dian frontier is so great, that the vigilance of a mil- 
lion of custom-house officers could not prevent their 
introduction. A temptation high in exact proportion 
to the amount of the restrictive duty, is held out to 
every trader; or in other words, the government 
which enforces the impost, offers a premium for its 
evasion. If Jonathan, — which we much doubt, — is 
too honest to smuggle, John Canadian is not; and 
the consequence simply is, that the United States 
are supplied with those goods from Montreal, which, 
under other circumstances, would have been directly 
imported. I remember walking through some ware- 
houses in New York with an eminent rxierchant of 
that city ; and on remarking the vast profusion of 
British manufactures everywhere apparent, he sig- 
nificantly answered, " Depend upon it, you have 
seen many more goods to-day than ever passed the 
Hook." In this matter, therefore, there exists no 


discrepancy between reason and experience. The 
trade between the countries still goes on with little, 
if any diminution. It has only been diverted from 
its natural and wholesome channel ; taken from the 
respectable merchant, and thrown into the hands of 
the smuggler. 

Among the body of the people there exists more 
ignorance as to the nature and effects of commerce, 
than might have been expected in a nation so gene- 
rally commercial. I believe the sight of the vast 
importations from Britain, which fill the warehouses 
in every seaport, is accompanied with a feeling not 
unallied to envy. They would pardon us for our 
king and our peers, our palaces and our parade, far 
sooner than for our vast manufactories, which de- 
luge the world with their produce. Such feelings 
are the consequence of ignorant and narrow views. 
In truth, every improA^ement in machinery which 
is made in Leeds or Manchester is a benefit to the 
world. By its agency the price of some commodity 
has been lowered, and an article, perhaps essential 
to comfort, is thus brought within the reach of mil- 


lions to whom it must otherwise have been inacces« 

Any sentiment of jealousy arising from the diffu- 
sion of British manufactures in their own country 
is no less absurd. Every increase of importation is, 
in fact, an evidence of increased opulence and pros- 
perity in the importing country. Not a bale of 
goods is landed at the quay of New York, without 
an equal value of the produce of the country being 
exported to pay for it. Commerce is merely a bar- 
ter of equivalents, and carries this advantage, that 
both parties are enriched by it. Thus, a piece of 
muslin may be more valuable in America than a 
bag of cotton; while, in England, the superiority 
of value is on the side of the latter. It is evident, 
therefore, that if these two articles be exchanged, 
both parties are gainers ; both receive a greater value 
than they have given, and the mass of national opu- 
lence, both in England and America, has received 
a positive increase. A commerce which is not mu- 
tually advantageous cannot be continued. No Tariff 
bill, no sj^stem of restriction, is required to put a 
stop to it. Governments have no reason to concern 


themselves about tlie balance of trade. They may 
safely leave that to individual sagacity, and devote 
their attention to those various interests in which 
legislation may at least possibly be attended with 

But formidable as the difficulties are which sur- 
round the supporters of the prohibitory system, an- 
other is approaching, even of greater magnitude. In 
two years the national debt will be extinguished, 
and the Federal government will find itself in pos- 
session of a surplus revenue of 12,000,000 of dollars, 
chiefly the produce of the Tariff duties. The ques- 
tion will then arise, how is this revenue to be appro- 
priated. If divided among the different states, the 
tranquillity of the Union will be disturbed by a 
thousand jealousies, which very probably would ter- 
minate in its dissolution. Besides, such an appro- 
priation is confessedly unconstitutional, and must 
arm the government with a power never contempla- 
ted at its formation. To apply the surplus in pro- 
jects of genera] improvement, under direction of Con- 
gress, would increase many of the difficulties, wliile 
it obviated none. In short, there is no escaping from 


the dilemma; and, singular as it may seem to an 
Englishman, the Tariff will probably be extinguished 
by a sheer plethora of money. The most enlight- 
ened statesmen unite in the conviction, that there is 
but one course to be pursued, and that is, to reduce 
the duties to a fair system of revenue ; to extract 
from the pockets of the people what is sufficient for 
the necessary expenses of the government, and no 
more. It is singular, that the wealth of a nation, 
which in other countries is found to generate cor- 
ruption, should, in the United States, be the means 
of forcing the government to return to the prin- 
ciples of sound and constitutional legislation. 

I am aware there is nothing new in all this, nor is 
it possible perhaps to be very original on a subject 
which has been so often and so thoroughly discussed. 
It ought perhaps in justice to be stated, that the ma- 
jority of the gentlemen among whom I moved in Bos- 
ton, were opposed to the Tariff, and that I derived 
much instruction both from their conversation and 
writings. The great majority of the mercantile popu- 
lation, however, are in favour of the prohibitory 

system, though I could not discover much novelty in 


the arguments by which they support it. To these, 
however, I shall not advert, and gladly turn from a 
subject, which I fear can possess little interest for an 
English reader. 

A traveller has no sooner time to look about him 
in Boston, than he receives the conviction that he 
is thrown among a population of a character differ- 
ing in much from that of the other cities of the 
Union. If a tolerable observer, he will immediately 
remark that the lines of the forehead are more deeply 
indented ; that there is more hardness of feature ; a 
more cold and lustreless expression of the eye; a 
more rigid compression of the lips, and that the 
countenance altogether is of a graver and more me- 
ditative cast. Something of all this is apparent 
even in childhood ; as the young idea shoots, the pe- 
culiarities become more strongly marked ; they grov/ 
with his growth and strengthen with his strength, 
and it is only when the New Englander is restored 
to his kindred dust that they are finally obliterated. 
Observe him in every different situation ; at the 
funeral, and the mai-riage-feast ; at the theatre, and 
the conventicle; in the ball-room, and on the ex- 

VOL. I. s 


change, and you will set him down as of God's crea- 
tures the least liable to be influenced by circum- 
stances appealing to the heart or imagination. 

The whole city seems to partake of this peculiar 
character, and a traveller coming from New York is 
especially struck with it. It is not that the streets 
of Boston are less crowded, the public places less 
frequented, or that the business of life is less energe- 
tically pursued. In all these matters, to the eye of a 
stranger there is little perceptible difference. But 
the population is evidently more orderly ; the con- 
ventional restrictions of society are more strictly 
drawn, and even the low^er orders are distinguished 
by a solemnity of demeanour, not observable in their 
more southern neighbour?. A shopkeeper weighs 
coffee or measures tape with the air of a philosopher ; 
makes observations on the price or quality with an 
air of sententious sagacity; subjects your coin to a 
sceptical scrutiny, and as you walk off v/ilh your 
parcel in your pocket, examines you from top to toe, 
in order to gain some probable conclusion as to your 
liabits or profession. 

Boston is quiet, but there is none of the torpor of 


still life about it, Nowliere are the arts of money 
getting more deeply studied or better understood. 
There is here less attempt than elsewhere to com- 
bine pleasure and business, simply because to a New 
Englander business is pleasure — indeed the only 
pleasure he cares much about. An English shop- 
keeper is a tradesman all morning, but a gentleman 
in the evening. He casts his slough like a snake, and 
steps into it again, only when he crosses the counter. 
Tallow, dri/ goods, and tobacco are topics specially 
eschewed in the drawing-rooms of Camberwell and 
Hackney, and all talk about sales and bankruptcies 
is considered a violation of the hienseances at Broad- 
stairs and Margate. In short, an English tradesman 
is always solicitous to cut the shop whenever he can 
do so with impunity, and it often happens that an 
acute observer of manners can detect a man's busi- 
ness rather by the topics he betrays anxiety to avoid, 
than those on which he delivers his opinion. 

There is some folly in all this, but there is like- 
wise some happiness. Enough, and too much, of 
man's life is devoted to business and its cares, 
and it is Weil that at least a portion of it should be 


given to enjoyment, and the cultivation of those cha- 
rities, which constitute the redeeming part of our 
nature. The follies of mankind have at least the 
advantage of being generally social, and connected 
with the happiness of others as well as with our own. 
But the pursuits of avarice and ambition are selfish ; 
their object is the attainment of solitary distinction, 
and the depression of competitors is no less necessary 
to success, than the positive elevation of the candi- 
date. The natural sympathies of humanity are apt 
to wither in the hearts of men engrossed by such 
interests. Even the vanities and follies of life have 
their use in softening the asperities of contest, and 
uniting men in their weakness, who would willingly 
stand apart in their strength. It is good, therefore, 
that the lawyer should sometimes forget his briefs, 
and the merchant his " argosies," and his money- 
bags ; that the poor man should cast off the memory 
of his sweat and his sufferings, and find even in 
frivolous amusements, a Sabbath of the sterner pas- 

But such Sabbath the New Englander rarely 
knows. Wherever he goes the coils of business are 


around Lim. He is a sort of moral Laocoon, diflfering 
only in this, that he makes no struggle to be free- 
Mammon has no more zealous worshipper than your 
true Yankee. His homage is not merely that of the 
lip, or of the knee ; it is an entire prostration of the 
heart ; the devotion of all powers, bodily and mental, 
to the service of the idol. He views the world but 
as one vast exchange, on which he is impelled, both 
by principle and interest, to over-reach his neigh- 
bours if he can. The thought of business is never 
absent from his mind. To him there is no enjoyment 
without traffic. He travels snail-like, with his shop 
or his counting-house on his back, and, like other 
hawkers, is always ready to open his budget of little 
private interests for discussion or amusement. The 
only respite he enjoys from the consideration of his 
own affairs, is the time he is pleased to bestow on 
prying into yours. In regard to the latter, he evi- 
dently considers that he has a perfect right to unli- 
mited sincerity. There is no baffling him. His cu- 
riosity seems to rise in proportion to the difficulty of 
its gratification : He will track you through every 
evasion, detect all your doublings, or, if thrown out. 


Avill Lark back so skilfully on the scent, that you are 
at length fairly hedged in a corner, and are tempted 
to exclaim, in the words of the most gifted of female 
poets, — 

" The devil damn thy question-asking spirit ; 
For when thou takest a notion by the skirt, 
Thou, like an English bull-dog, keepest thy hold, 
And v.ilt not let it go." 

Their puritan descent has stamped a character on 
the New Englanders, which nearly two centuries 
have done little to efface. Among their own coun- 
trymen they are distinguished for their enterprise, 
prudence, frugality, order, and intelligence. Like 
the Jews, they are a marked people, and stand out 
in strong relief from the population which surrounds 
them. I imagine attachment to republicanism is 
less fervent in this quarter of the Union than in any 
other. The understanding of a Yankee is not likely 
to be run away with by any political plausibilities, 
and concerns itself very little about evils which are 
merely speculative. He is content when he feels a 
grievance to apply a remedy, and sets about the 
work of reform, with none of that revolutionary fury. 


which has so often marred the fairest prospects of 
the philanthropist. Since the establishment of their 
independence, the representatives of these States have 
almost uniformly advocated in Congress the prin- 
ciples of Washington, Hamilton, and Adams, and 
rather regarded with apprehension the democratic 
tendencies of the constitution, than the dangers 
which might result from increase of power on the 
part of the executive. 

This is the more remarkable, as the constitutions 
of most of the New England States are in truth re- 
publican in a degree verging on democracy. In New 
Hampshire, the governor, council, senators, and 
representatives are all elected annually by the people. 
In Vermont, there is only one Legislative Body, 
which, along with the governor and council, and 
judges, is chosen annually. Rhode Island, strange to 
say, hqis no written constitution at all, and the inha- 
bitants find it very possible to live in perfect com- 
fort and security without one. The custom is, how- 
ever, to have a governor, senate, and representatives, 
who are chosen annually. The appointment of j udges 
is likewise annual. In Massachusetts, the governor 


and Legislative Bodies are annually cliosen — the 
judges, however, hold their offices ad vitam aut cuU 
pam. In the States of Maine and Connecticut, the 
Executive and Legislative Bodies are appointed an- 
nually; the Judiciary, however, is permanent. In 
all these states, the right of suffrage, with some few 
restrictions in regard to paupers, &c. is universal. 

In contrast with this, it may be curious to take a 
glance at the constitution of Virginia, the native 
state of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Mun- 
roe, which has always been remarkable in the Fede- 
ral Congi'ess for the assertion of the highest and 
purest principles of republicanism. It must be ob- 
served, however, that until 1829, the right of suf- 
frage depended on a much higher territorial quali- 
fication than at present. In that year, the consti- 
tution was remodelled and liberalized by a conven- 
tion of the inhabitants. 

There are in Virginia two Legislative Bodies. The 
members of the Lower House are chosen annually, 
the senators every four years. These houses, by a 
joint vote, elect the governor, who remains in office 
three years. The judges are during good behaviour. 


or until removed by a concurrent vote of both houses, 
two-thirds being required to constitute the neces- 
sary majority. The right of suffrage is vested in 
every citizen possessed of a freehold of the value of 
twenty-five dollars, or who has a life-interest in land 
of the value of fifty dollars, or who shall own or 
occupy a leasehold estate of the annual value of two 
hundred dollars, &c. 

There is thus presented the anomaly of the most 
democratic state of the Union adhering to a consti- 
tution comparatively aristocratic, and appending to 
the right of suffrage a high territorial qualification ; 
while the New England States, with institutions 
more democratic than have ever yet been realized 
in any other civilized community, are distinguished 
as the advocates of a strong federal legislature, a 
productive system of finance, the establishment of a 
powerful navy, and such liberal expenditure at home 
and abroad, as would tend to ensure respect and in- 
fluence to the government. 

The truth seems to be, that the original polity of 
these States partook of the patriarchal character, 
and has not yet entirely lost its hold on the feelings 

VOL. I. T 


of the people. It was easy to maintain order in a 
country where there was little temptation to crime ; 
where, by a clay's labour, a man could earn the price 
of an acre of tolerable land, and becoming a terri- 
torial proprietor, of course, immediately partook of 
the common impulse, to maintain ihe security of 
property. Add to this the character of the people ; 
their apathetic temperament, their habits of parsi- 
mony, the religious impressions communicated by 
their ancestors, and, above all, the vast extent of 
fertile territory which acted as an escape- valve for 
the more daring and unprincipled part of the popu- 
lation, and we shall have reasons enough, I imagine, 
why the New Englanders could bear, without inju- 
ry, a greater degree of political liberty than perhaps 
any other people in the world. 

But though the New Englanders had little ap- 
prehension of glaring violations of law within their 
own territory, they had evidently no great confi- 
dence in the wisdom and morality of their neigh- 
bours. They were, therefore, in favour of a federal 
legislature, strong enough to command respect, and 
maintain order throughout the Union. Forming a 


small minority of the confederated States, yet for 
long subsequent to the Revolution, possessing by far 
the greater share of the national capital, they felt that 
they had more to lose than those around tliem, and 
were consequently more solicitous to strengthen the 
guarantees of public order. They would, therefore, 
have been better satisfied had greater influence been 
given to property, and would gladly have seen the 
senate so constituted, as to act as a check on the 
hasty impulses of the more popular chamber. With- 
in their own limits there was no risk of domestic 
disturbance. The most wealthy capitalist felt, that 
from the citizens of his own province, he had no- 
thing to apprehend. But it was to the federal legis- 
lature alone, that they could look for security from 
without, and they were naturally anxious that this 
body should be composed of men with a deep inte- 
rest in the stability of the Union, and representing 
rather the deliberate opinions of their more intelli- 
gent constituents, than the hasty and variable im- 
pressions of the ignorant and vulgar. 

The New England states have something approach- 
ing to a religious establishment. In Massachusetts, 


Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, the 
law requires each town to provide, by taxation, for 
the support of the Protestant religion, leaving, how- 
ever, to every individual, the choice of the particu- 
lar sect to which he will contribute. In the other 
States of the Union, every person is at liberty to act 
as he pleases in regard to religion, which is regarded 
solely as a relation between man and his Maker, 
and any compulsory contribution would be consi- 
dered a direct encroachment on personal liberty. 
But if Christianity be a public benefit ; if it tend to 
diminish crime and encourage the virtues essential 
to the prosperity of a community, it is difficult to 
see on what grounds its support and diffusion should 
not form part of the duties of a legislature. 

In these States, the education of the people is like- 
wise the subject of legislative enactment. In Mas- 
sachusetts, public schools are established in every 
district, and supported by a tax levied on the public. 
In Connecticut they are maintained in another man- 
ner. By the charter of Charles the Second, this 
colony extended across the Continent to the Pacific, 
within the same parallels of latitude which bound it 


on the East. It therefore included a large portion 
of the present Statesof Pennsylvania and Ohio, which 
being sold, produced a sum amounting to L.270,000 
sterling, the interest of which is exclusively devoted 
to the purposes of education throughout the State. 
This fund is now largely increased, and its annual 
produce, I believe, is greater than the whole income 
of the State arising from taxation. 

In these public schools every citizen has not 
only a right to have his children educated, but, as 
in some parts of Germany, he is compelled by law 
to exercise it. It is here considered essential to th-e 
public interest that every man should receive so 
much instruction as shall qualify him for a useful 
member of the State. No member of society can be 
considered as an isolated and abstract being, living 
for his own pleasure, and labouring for his own ad- 
vantage. In free States, especially, every man has 
important political functions, which affect materially 
not only his own well-being but that of his fellow- 
citizens ; and it is surely reasonable to demand that 
he shall at least possess such knoweledge as shall 
render it possible for him to discharge his duties 


with advantage to the community. The policy which 
attempts to check crime hy the diffusion of know- 
ledge, is the offspring of true political wisdom. It 
gives a security to person and property, heyond that 
afforded by the law, and looks for the improvement 
of the people, not to the gibbet and the prison, but 
to increased intelligence, and a consequently keener 
sense of moral responsibility. 

Speaking generally, it may be said that every 
New Englander receives the elements of education. 
Reading and writing, even among the poorest class, 
are universally diffused ; arithmetic, I presume, 
comes by instinct among this guessing, reckoning, 
expecting, and calculating people. The school- mas- 
ter has long been abroad in these States, deprived, 
it is true, of his rod and ferule, but still most use- 
fully employed. Up to a certain point he has done 
wonders ; he has made his scholars as wise as him- 
self, and it would be somewhat unreasonable to ex- 
pect more. If it be considered desirable, however, 
that the present range of popular knowledge should 
be enlarged, the question then arises, who shall teach 
the schoolmaster ? Who shall impress a pedagogue 


(on the best terms with himself, and whose only 
wonder is, " that one small head should carry all he 
knows,") with a due sense of his deficiencies, and 
lead him to admit that there are more things be- 
tween heaven and earth than are dreamt of in his 
philosophy ? A New Englander passes through the 
statutory process of education, and enters life with 
the intimate conviction that he has mastered, if not 
the omne scibile, at least every thing valuable within 
the domain of intellect. It never occurs to him as 
possible, that he may have formed a wrong conclu- 
sion on any question, however intricate, of politics or 
religion. He despises all knowledge abstracted from 
the business of the world, and prides himself on his 
stock of practical truths. In mind, body, and estate, 
he believes himself the first and noblest of God's 
creatures. The sound of triumph is ever on his 
lips, and, like a man who has mounted the first step 
of a ladder, it is his pride to look down on his neigli- 
bours, whom he overtops by an inch, instead of di- 
recting his attention to the great height yet to be 

This folly, indeed, is not peculiar to the New Eng- 


lander, though in him it is more strongly marked 
than in the inhabitants of the other States. It enters 
into the very essence of his character ; it is part and 
parcel of him, and its eradication would involve 
an entire change of being. " A blessing be on him 
who first invented sleep," says Sanclio Panza, " for 
it covers a man all over like a cloak." And even so 
Jonathan may bless his vanity. He is encased in it 
from top to toe ; it is a panoply of proof, which ren- 
ders him invulnerable equally to ridicule ^nd argu- 

If to form a just estimate of ourselves and others, 
be the test of knowledge, the New Englander is the 
most ignorant of mankind. There is a great deal 
that is really good and estimable in his charac- 
ter, but, after all, he is not absolutely the ninth 
wonder of the world. I know of no benefit that 
could be conferred on him equal to convincing him 
of this truth. He may be assured that the man who 
knows nothing, and is aware of his ignorance, is a 
wiser and more enviable being than he who knows 
a little, and imagines that he knows all. The extent 
of our ignorance is a far more profitable object of 


contemplation than that of our knowledge. Discon- 
tent with our actual amount of acquirement is the 
indispensable condition of possible improvement. It 
is to be wished that Jonathan would remember this. 
He may rely on it, he will occupy a higher place in 
the estimation of the world, whenever he has ac- 
quired the wisdom to think more humbly of him- 

The New England free-schools are establishments 
happily adapted to the wants and character of the 
people. They have been found to work admirably, 
and too much praise cannot be bestowed on the en- 
lightened policy which, from the very foundation of 
the colony, has never once lost sight of the great 
object of diffusing education through every cottage 
within its boundaries. It will detract nothing from 
the honour thus justly due, to mention that the 
establishment of district schools was not an original 
achievement of New England intelligence. The 
parish-schools of Scotland (to say nothing of Ger- 
many) had existed long before the pilgrim fathers 
ever knelt in worship beneath the shadows of the 
hoary forest trees. The principle of the establish- 


ments in both countries is the same, the only dif- 
ference is in the details. In Scotland the land-own- 
ers of each parish contribute the means of educa- 
tion for the body of the people. The schoolhouse 
and dwelling-house of the master are provided and 
kept in repair by an assessment on the land, which 
is likewise burdened with the amount of his salary. 
It has been an object, however, wisely kept in 
view, that instruction at these seminaries shall not be 
wholly gratuitous. There are few even of the poorest 
order in Scotland who would not consider it a degra- 
dation to send their children to a charity school, and 
the feeling of independence, is perhaps the very last 
which a wise legislator will venture to counteract. It 
is to be expected, too, that when the master depends 
on the emolument to be derived from his scholars, he 
will exert himself more zealously than when his 
remuneration arises from a source altogether inde- 
pendent of his own efforts. The sum demanded from 
the scholars, however, is so low, that instruction is 
placed within the reach of the poorest cottager ; and 
instances are few indeed, in which a child born 
in Scotland is suffered to grow up without sufficient 


instruction to enable him to discharge respectably 
the duties of the situation he is destined to fill. 

When Mr Brougham, however, brought forward 
in the British Parliament his plan of national edu- 
cation, which consisted mainly in the establishment 
throughout the kingdom of parish- schools, similar to 
those in Scotland, one of the most eminent indivi- 
duals of the Union* did not hesitate to arrogate the 
whole merit of the precedent for New England. I 
have more than once since my arrival heard Mr 
Brougham accused of unworthy motives, in not pub- 
licly confessing that his whole project was founded 
on the example set forth for imitation in this favoured 
region. It was in vain that I pleaded the circum- 
stances above stated, the company were evidently 
determined to believe their own schools without 
parallel in the world, and the Lord Chancellor will 
assuredly go down to his grave unabsolved from this 
weighty imputation. 

In character there are many points of resemblance 
between the Scotch and New Englanders. There is 

* Mr Webster, in his speech delivered at Plymouth, in comraemo- 
i-ation of the first settlement of New England. 


the same sobriety, love of order, and perseverance in 
both ; the same attachment to religion, mingled with 
more caution in Sanders, and more enterprise in 
Jonathan. Both are the inhabitants of a poor country, 
and both have become rich by habits of steady in- 
dustry and frugality. Both send forth a large por- 
tion of their population to participate in the wealth 
of more favoured regions. The Scot, however, never 
loses his attachment to his native land. It has pro- 
bably been to him a rugged nurse, yet, wander where 
he will, its heathy mountains are ever present to 
his imagination, and he thinks of the bleak muirland 
cottage in which he grew from infancy to manhood, 
as a spot encircled by a halo of light and beauty. 
Whenever fortune smiles on him, he returns to his 
native village, and the drama of his life closes where 
it commenced. 

There is nothing of this local attachment about 
the New Englander. His own country is too poor 
and too populous to afford scope for the full exer- 
cise of his enterprise and activity. He therefore 
shoulders his axe, and betakes himself to distant 
regions ; breaks once and for ever all the ties of kin- 


dred and connexion, and without one longing linger- 
ing look, bids farewell to all the scenes of his in- 

In point of morality, I mast be excused for giving 
the decided preference to my countrymen. The Scotch 
have established throughout the world a high cha- 
racter for honesty, sobriety, and steady industry. 
Jonathan is equally sober and industrious, but his 
reputation for honesty is at a discount. The whole 
Union is full of stories of his cunning frauds, and 
of the impositions he delights to perpetrate on his 
more simple neighbours. Whenever his love of money 
comes in competition with his zeal for religion, the 
latter is sure to give way. He will insist on the 
scrupulous observance of the Sabbath, and cheat his 
customer on the Monday morning. His life is a 
comment on the text, Qiii festinat ditescere, non erit 
innocens. The whole race of Yankee pedlars, in 
particular, are proverbial for dishonesty. These 
go forth annually in thousands to lie, cog, cheat, 
swindle, in short, to get possession of their neigh- 
bour's property, in any manner it can be done with 
impunity. Their ingenuity in deception is confess- 



edly very great. They warrant broken watches to 
be the best time-keepers in the world ; sell pinch- 
beck trinkets for gold ; and have always a large 
assortment of wooden nutmegs, and stagnant baro- 
meters. In this respect they resemble the Jews, of 
which race,, by the by, I am assured, there is not a 
single specimen to be found in New England. There 
is an old Scotch proverb, " Corbies never pick out 
corbies' een." 

The New Englanders are not an amiable people. 
One meets in them much to approve, little to admire, 
and nothing to love. They may be disliked, how- 
ever, but they cannot be despised. There is a degree 
of energy and sturdy independence about them, in- 
compatible with contempt. Abuse them as we may, 
it must still be admitted they are a singular and 
original people. Nature, in framing a Yankee, seems 
to have given him double brains, and half heart. 

Wealth is more equally distributed in the New 
England states, than perhaps in any other country 
of the world. There are here no overgrown for- 
tunes. Abject poverty is rarely seen, but moderate 
opulence everywhere. This is as it should be. Who 


would wish for the introduction of tlie palace, if it 
must be accompanied by the Poor's-house ?* 

There are few beggars to be found in the streets of 
Boston, but some there are, both there and at New 
York. These, however, I am assured, are all foreign- 
ers, or people of colour, and my own observations 
go to confirm the assertion. Nine- tenths of those 
by whom I have been importuned for charity, were 
evidently Irish. The number of negroes in Boston 
is comparatively small. The servants, in the better 
houses at least, are generally whites, but I have not 
been able to discover that the prejudices which, in 
the other States, condemn the poor African to de- 
gradation, have been at all modified or diminished 
by the boasted intelligence of the New Englanders. 

* The observations on the New England character in the present 
chapter, would perhaps have been more appropriately deferred till a 
later period of the work. Having written them, however, they must 
now stand where chance has placed them. I have only to beg they 
may be taken, not as the hasty impressions received during a few 
days or weeks residence in Boston, but as the final result of my obser- 
vations on this interesting people, both in their own states, and in 
other portions of the Union. 

This observation is equally applicable to the opinions expressed in 
different parts of these volumes, and I must request the reader to be 
good enough to bear it in mind. 


Though the schoolmaster has long exercised his 
vocation in these States, the fruit of his labours is 
but little apparent in the language of his pupils. 
The amount of bad grammar in circulation is very 
great ; that of barbarisms enormous. Of course, I 
do not now speak of the operative class, whose mas- 
sacre of their mother- tongue, however inhuman, 
could excite no astonishment ; but I allude to the 
great body of lawyers and traders ; the men who 
crowd the exchange and the hotels ; who are to be 
heard speaking in the courts, and are selected by 
their fellow-citizens to fill high and responsible offices. 
Even by this educated and respectable class, the 
commonest words are often so transmogrified as to 
be placed beyond the recognition of an Englishman. 
The word does is split into two syllables, and pro- 
nounced do-es. Where, for some incomprehensible 
reason, is converted into whare, there into thare ; and 
I remember, on mentioning to an acquaintance that 
I had called on a gentleman of taste in the arts, he 
asked, "Whether he shew (showed) me his pictures." 
Such words as oratory and dilatory, are pronounced 
with the penult syllable, long and accented; mis- 


sionary becomes missionairy, angel, angel, danger, 
danger, &e. 

But this is not all. The Americans have chosen 
arbitrarily to change the meaning of certain old and 
established English words, for reasons which they 
cannot explain, and which I doubt much whether 
any European philologist could understand. The 
word clever affords a case in point. It has here no 
connexion with talent, and simply means pleasant 
or amiable. Thus a good-natured blockhead in the 
American vernacular, is a clever man, and having 
had this drilled into me, I foolishly imagined that all 
trouble with regard to this word at least, was at an 
end. It was not long, however, before I heard of a 
gentleman having moved into a clever house, of an- 
other succeeding to a clever sum of money, of a third 
embarking in a clever ship, and making a clever voy- 
age, with a clever cargo ; and of the sense attached to 
the word in these various combinations, I could gain 
nothing like satisfactory explanation. 

With regard to the meaning intended to be con- 
veyed by an American in conversation, one is some- 
times left utterly at large. I remember, after con- 

VOL. I. u 


versing with a very plain, but very agreeable lady, 

being asked whether Mrs was not a very fine 

woman. I believe I have not more conscience than 
my neighbours in regard to a compliment, but in the 
present case there seemed something so ludicrous in 
the application of the term, that I found it really 
impossible to answer in the affirmative. I therefore 
ventured to hint, that the personal charms of Mrs 

were certainly not her principal attraction, but 

that I had rarely enjoyed the good fortune of meet- 
ing a lady more pleasing and intelligent. This led 
to an explanation, and I learned that in the dialect 
of this country, the term fine woman refers exclu- 
sively to the intellect. 

The privilege of barbarizing the King's English is 
assumed by all ranks and conditions of men. Such 
words as slick^ hedge, and boss, it is true, are rarely 
used by the better orders ; but they assume unlimited 
liberty in the use of ** expect," " reckon,*' " guess," 
"calculate," and perpetrate conversational anomalies 
with the most remorseless impunity. It were easy to 
accumulate instances, but I will not go on with this 
unpleasant subject ; nor should I have alluded to it, 


but that I feel it something of a duty to express the 
natural feeling of an Englishman, at finding the lan- 
guage of Shakspeare and Milton thus gratuitously 
degraded. Unless the present progress of change be 
arrested, by an increase of taste and judgment in the 
more educated classes, there can be no doubt that, 
in another century, the dialect of the Americans will 
become utterly unintelligible to an Englishman, and 
that the nation will be cut off from the advantages 
arising from their participation in British literature. 
If they contemplate such an event with complacency, 
let them go on and prosper ; they have only to ^^ pro- 
gress " in their present course, and their grandchil- 
dren bid fair to speak a jargon as novel and peculiar 
as the most patriotic American linguist can desire. 




Having directed the attention of tlie reader to 
some of the more prominent defects of the New Eng- 
land character, it is only justice to add, that in Boston 
at least, there exists a circle almost entirely exempt 
from them. This is composed of the first-rate mer- 
chants and lawyers, leavened by a small sprinkling 
of the clergy, and, judging of the quality of the 
ingredients, from the agreeable effect of the mixture, 
I should pronounce them excellent. There is much 
taste for literature in this circle ; much liberality of 
sentiment, a good deal of accomplishment, and a 
greater amount, perhaps, both of practical and spe- 
culative knowledge, than the population of any 
other mercantile city could supply. In such society 


it is possible for an Englishman to express his opi- 
nions without danger of being misunderstood, and 
he enjoys the advantage of free interchange of 
thought, and correcting his own hasty impressions 
by comparison with the results of more mature ex- 
perience and sounder judgment. 

It certainly struck me as singular, that while the 
great body of the New Englanders are distinguished 
above every other people I have ever known by bi- 
gotry and narrowness of mind, and an utter disre- 
gard of those delicacies of deportment which indicate 
benevolence of feeling, the higher and more enlight- 
ened portion of the community should be peculiarly 
remarkable for the display of qualities precisely the 
reverse. Nowhere in the United States will the feel- 
ings, and even prejudices of a stranger, meet with 
such forbearance as in the circle to which I allude. 
Nowhere are the true delicacies of social intercourse 
more scrupulously observed, and nowhere will a 
traveller mingle in society, w^here his errors of opi- 
nion will be more rigidly detected or more chari- 
tably excused. I look back on the period of my resi- 
dence in Boston with peculiar pleasure. I trust there 


are individuals there who regard me as a friend, and 
I know of nothing in the more remote contingencies 
of life, which I contemplate with greater satisfaction, 
than the possibility of renewing in this country, with 
at least some of the number, an intercourse which I 
found so gratifying in their own. 

In externals, the society of Boston differs little 
from that of New York. There is the same routine 
of dinners and parties, and in both the scale of ex- 
pensive luxury seems nearly equal. In Boston, how- 
ever, there is more literature, and this circumstance 
has proportionally enlarged the range of conversa- 
tion. An Englishman is a good deal struck in Ame- 
rica with the entire absence of books, as articles of 
furniture. The remark, however, is not applicable 
to Boston. There, works of European literature, 
evidently not introduced for the mere purpose of dis- 
play, are generally to be found, and even the draw- 
ing-room sometimes assumes the appearance of a 

The higher order of the New Englanders offers no 
exception to that grave solemnity of aspect, which is 
the badge of all their tribe. The gentlemen are more 


given than is elsewhere usual, to the discussion of 
abstract polemics, both in literature and religion. 
There is a moral pugnacity about them, which is 
not offensive, because it is never productive of any 
thing like wrangling, and is qualified by a very large 
measure of philosophical tolerance. The well-inform- 
ed Bostonian is a calm and deliberative being. His 
decision, on any point, may be influenced by interest, 
but not by passion. He is rarely contented, like the 
inhabitants of other states, with taking the plain and 
broad features of a case ; he enters into all the re- 
finements of which the subject is capable, discrimi- 
nates between the plausible and the true, establishes 
the precise limits of fact and probability, and with 
unerring accuracy fixes on the weak point in the ar- 
gument of his opponent. Of all men he is the least 
liable, I should imagine, to be misled by any general 
assertion of abstract principle. He uniformly car- 
ries into the business of common life a certain prac- 
tical good sense, and never for a moment loses sight 
of the results of experience. In politics he will not 
consent to go the ivhole hog, or, in other words, to 
hazard a certain amount of present benefit, for tlie 


promise, however confident, of new and untried ad- 

Of the ladies of Boston I did not see much, and 
can therefore only speak in doubtful terms of the 
amount of their attractions. Unfortunately it is still 
less the fashion, than at New York, to enliven the 
dinner- table with their presence, and, during my 
stay, I was only present at one ball. But the im- 
pression I received was certainly very favourable. 
These fair New Englanders partake of the endemic 
gi-avity of expression, which sits well on them, be- 
cause it is natural. In amount of acquirement, I 
believe they are very superior to any other ladies of 
the Union. They talk well and gracefully of novels 
and poetry, are accomplished in music and the living 
languages, and though the New York ladies charge 
them with being dowdyish in dress, I am not sure 
that their taste in this respect is not purer, as it cer- 
tainly is more simple, than that of their fair accusers. 

The habits of the Bostonians are, I believe, more 
domestic than is common in the other cities of the 
Union. The taste for reading contributes to this, 
by rendering both families and individuals less de- 


pendent on society. A strong aristocratic feeling is 
apparent in tlie families of older standing. The 
walls of the apartments are often covered with the 
portraits of their ancestors, armorial bearings are 
in general use, and antiquity of hlood is no less va- 
lued here than in England. The people, too, dis- 
play a fondness for title somewhat at variance with 
their good sense in other matters. The governor of 
Massachusetts receives the title of Excellency. The 
President of the United States claims no such 
honour. The members of the Federal Senate are 
addressed generally in the northern states, with the 
prefixture of Honourable, but the New Englanders 
go further, and extend the same distinction to the 
whole body of representatives, a practice followed 
in no other part of the Union. 

Such trifles often afford considerable insight to the 
real feelings of a people. Nowhere are mere nomi- 
nal distinctions at so high a premium as in this re- 
publican country. Military titles are caught at with 
an avidity, which to an Englishman appears abso- 
lutely ridiculous. The anomaly of learned majors 

VOL. I. X 


at the bar addressing learned colonels or generals on 
the bench is not uncommon, and as the privates of 
militia enjoy the privilege of electing their officers, 
of course the principle of choice is by no means 
the possession of military knowledge. In a thinly- 
peopled country, where candidates of a better class 
are not to be had, it must often happen, that the 
highest military rank is bestowed on men of the very 
lowest station in society. This circumstance, it might 
be expected, would bring this class of honours into 
disrepute, and that, like the title of knight- bachelor 
in England, they would be avoided by the better 
order of citizens. This, however, is by no means 
the case. Generals, colonels, and majors, swarm all 
over the Union, and the titular distinction is equally 
coveted by the President and the senator, the judge 
on the bench and the innkeeper at the bar. 

There is far more English feeling in Boston than 
I was prepared to expect. The people yet feel pride 
in the country of their forefathers, and even retain 
somewhat of reverence for her ancient institutions. 
At the period of my visit, the topic of Parliamentary 
Reform was naturally one of peculiar interest. The 


revolution in France had commujnicat^d a strong 
impulse to opinion in England,^ and llie poHcy to 
be adopted by the ministry in regard to this great 
question, was yet unknown. The subject, therefore, 
in all its bearings, was very frequently discussed 
in the society of Boston. It was one on which 
I had anticipated little difference of opinion among 
the citizens of a republic. Admitting that their 
best wishes were in favour of the prosperity of Bri- 
tain, and the stability of her constitution, I expected 
that their judgment would necessarily point to great 
and immediate changes in a monarchy confessedly 
not free from abuse. For myself, though considered, 
I believe, as something of a Radical at home, I had 
come to the United States prepared to bear the 
imputation of Toryism among a people whose ideas 
of liberty were carried so much further than my 

In all these anticipations I was mistaken. Strange 
to say, I found myself quite as much a Radical in 
Boston, and very nearly as much so in New York, as 
I had been considered in England. It was soon appa- 
rent that the great majority of the more enlightened 


class in both cities, regarded any great and sudden 
change in the British institutions as pregnant with 
the most imminent danger. In their eyes the chance 
of ultimate advantage was utterly insignificant, when 
weighed against the certainty of immediate peril. 
" You at present," they said, " enjoy more practi- 
cal freedom than has ever in the whole experience of 
mankind been permanently secured to a nation by 
any institutions. Your government, whatever may 
be its defects, enjoys at least this inestimable advan- 
tage, that the habits of the people are adapted to it. 
This cannot be the case in regard to any change, 
however calculated to be ultimately beneficial. The 
process of moral adaptation is ever slow and preca- 
rious, and the experience of the world demonstrates 
that it is far better that the intelligence of a people 
should be in advance of their institutions, than that 
the institutions should precede the advancement of 
the people. In the former case, however theoreti- 
cally bad, their laws will be practically modified by 
the influence of public opinion ; in the latter, however 
good in themselves, they cannot be secure or bene- 
ficial in their operation. We speak as men whose 


opinions have been formed from experience, under 
a government, popular in the widest sense of the 
term. As friends, we caution you to beware. We 
pretend not to judge whether change be necessary. 
If it be, we trust it will at least be gradual ; that your 
statesmen will approach the work of reform, witli 
the full knowledge that every single innovation will 
occasion the necessity of many. The appetite for 
change in a people grows with what it feeds on. It 
is insatiable. Go as far as you will, at some point 
you must stop, and that point will be short of the 
wish of a large portion — probably of a numerical 
majority — of your population. By no concession 
does it appear to us that you can avert the battle 
that awaits you. You have but the choice wlie- 
ther the great struggle shall be for reform or pro- 

I own I was a good deal surprised by the pre- 
valence of such opinions among the only class of 
Americans whose judgment as to matters of govern- 
ment, could be supposed of much value. As it was 
my object to acquire as much knowledge as possible 
with regard to the real working of the American 


constitution on the habits and feelings of the people ; 
I was always glad to listen to political discussion 
between enlightened disputants. This carried with it 
at least the advantage of affording an indication to 
the prevailing tone of thought and opinion, in a con- 
dition of society altogether different from any within 
the range of European experience. At present I 
have only alluded to the subject of politics at all, as 
illustrative of a peculiar feature in the New England 
character. At a future period, I shall have occasion 
to view the subject under a different aspect. 

The comparative diffusion of literature in Boston, 
has brought with it a taste for the fine arts. The 
better houses are adorned with pictures ; and in the 
Athenseum — a public library and reading-room — is 
a collection of casts from the antique. Establish- 
ments for the instruction of the people in the higher 
branches of knowledge, are yet almost unknown in 
the United States, but something like a Mechanics' 
Institute has at length been got up in Boston, and I 
went to hear the introductory lecture. The apart- 
ment, a large one, was crowded by an audience 
whose appearance and deportment were in the high- 


est degree orderly and respectable. The lecture was 
on the steam-engine, the history, principle, and con- 
struction of which were explained most lucidly by 
a lecturer, who belonged, I was assured, to the class 
of operative mechanics. 

Boston can boast having produced some eminent 
artists, at the head of whom is Mr Alston, a painter, 
confessedly of fine taste, if not of high genius. His 
taste, however, unfortunately renders him too fas- 
tidious a critic on his own performances, and he has 
now been upwards of ten years in painting an his- 
torical subject, which is yet unfinished. This surely 
is mere waste of life and labour. Where a poet or 
painter has a strong grasp of his subject, he finds no 
difiiculty in embodying his conceptions. The idea 
which requires years of fostering, and must be 
cherished and cockered into life, is seldom worth the 
cost of its nurture. Mr Alston should remember that 
a tree is judged by the quantity as well as by the 
quality of its fruit. Had Raphael, Rubens, or Titian, 
adopted such a process of elaboration, how many of 
the noblest specimens of art would have been lost to 
the world ! 


I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with 
Mr Harding, a painter of much talent, and very 
considerablie genius. His history is a singular one. 
During the last war with Great Britain, he was a * 
private soldier, and fought in many of the battles 
on the frontier. At the return of peace, he ex- 
changed the sword for the pallet, and without in- 
struction of any kind, attained to such excellence, 
that his pictures attracted mjach notice, and some 
little encouragement. But America affords no field 
for the higher walks of art, and Harding, with 
powers of the first order, and an unbounded enthu' 
siasm for his profession, is not likely," I fear, to be 
appreciated as he deserves. Some years ago he 
visited England, where his talents were fast rising 
into celebrity, but the strength of the amorpatrice un- 
fortunately determined him to return to his native 
land. I say unfortunately, because in England he 
could scarcely have failed of attaining both wider 
fame, and more liberal remuneration, than can well 
be expected in America. The modesty of this artist 
is no less remarkable than his genius. He uniformly 
judges his own performances by the highest standard 


of criticism, and is far rather disposed to exaggerate 
than extenuate their defects. Such a character of 
mind holds out high hopes of future achievement. 
In truth, even now, he is deficient in nothing, hut a 
certain softness and finish, which time and a little 
practice will undouhtedly supply. 

The hetter society of Boston, I imagine, is some- 
what more exclusive than that of New York. Both 
pride of family, and pride of knowledge, contribute 
to this, though there is no public or apparent asser- 
tion of either. It is the custom on every Sunday 
evening for the different branches of a family to 
assemble at the'house-of one or other of its members. 
This generally produces a very social and agreeable 
party, and though a stranger, I was sometimes hos- 
pitably permitted to join the circle. It certainly at 
first appeared rather singular, that the Bostonians, 
who are strict observers of the Sabbath, should select 
that day for any festive celebration, however inno- 
cent. I learned, however, that on the literal interpre- 
tation of the assertion in Genesis, that "the evening 
and the morning were the first day," the Sabbath is 
not observed, as with us, from midnight to midnight, 


but from sunset to sunset. In conformity with this 
doctrine, the shops are generally closed at twilight 
on Saturday evening, and all business is suspended. 
Of course, after sunset on the day following, they 
consider themselves discharged from further reli- 
gious observance, and the evening is generally de- 
voted to social intercourse. 

Having passed nearly three weeks in Boston, it 
became necessary that I should direct my steps to 
the southward. I determined to return to New York 
by land, being anxious to see something of the coun- 
try, and more than I had yet done of its inhabitants. 
The festivities of Christmas, therefore, were no sooner 
over, than I quitted Boston, with sentiments of deep 
gratitude for a kindness, which, from the hour of my 
arrival, to that of my departure, had continued 

I have already described an American stage-coach. 
The one in which I now travelled, though distin- 
guished by the title of " mail-stage," could boast 
no peculiar attraction. It was old and rickety, and 
the stuffing of the cushions had become so conglo- 
merated into hard and irregular masses, as to im- 


press the passengers with the conviction of heing 
seated on a bag of pebbles. Fortunately it was not 
crowded, and the road, though rough, was at least 
better than that on which I had been jolted on my 
journey from Providence. It was one o'clock before 
we got fairly under way, and it is scarcely possible, I 
imagine, for a journey to commence under gloomier 
auguries. The weather was most dismal. The wind 
roared loudly among the branches of the leafless trees, 
and beat occasionally against the carriage in gusts so 
violent, as to threaten its overthrow. At length the 
clouds opened, and down came a storm of snow, 
which, in a few minutes, had covered the whole 
surface of the country, as with a winding-sheet. 

The first night we slept at Worcester, a town con- 
taining about 3000 inhabitants, which the guide- 
book declares to contain a bank, four printing-offices, 
a court-house, and a gaol, assertions which I can 
pretend neither to corroborate nor deny. Its appear- 
ance, however, as I observed on the following morn- 
ing, was far from unprepossessing ; the streets were 
clean, and round the town stood neat and pretty- 
looking villas, which might have been still prettier. 


had they displayed less gaudy and tasteless decora- 

As the county court, — or some other, — was then 
sitting, the inn was crowded with lawyers and their 
clients, at leastfifty of whom already occupied the pub- 
lic saloTij which was certainly not more than twenty 
feet square. The passengers were left to scramble out 
of the coach as they best could iu the dark, and 
afterwards to explore their way without the smallest 
notice, beyond that of a broad stare from the master 
of the house. On entering the room, I stood for 
some time, in the hope that a party who engrossed 
the whole fire, would compassionate our half-frozen 
condition, and invite our approach. Nothing, how- 
ever, was farther from their thoughts than such be- 
nevolence. " Friend, did you come by the stage?" 
asked a man immediately in my front, " I guess you 
found it tarnation cold." I assured him his conjec- 
ture was quite correct, but the reply had not the 
effect of inducing any relaxation of the blockade. I 
soon observed, however, that my fellow-travellers 
elbowed their way without ceremony, and by adopt- 
ing Rodney's manoeuvre of cutting the line, had 


already gained a comfortable position in rear of 
the cordon. I therefore did not hesitate to follow 
their example, and pushing resolutely forward, at 
length enjoyed the sight and warmth of the blazing 

In about half an hour, the ringing of a bell gave 
welcome signal of supper, and accompanying my 
fellow-passengers to the eating-room, we found a 
plentiful meal awaiting our appearance. On the score 
of fare there was certainly no cause of complaint. 
There were dishes of beef-steaks — which in this 
country are generally about half the size of a news- 
paper, — broiled fowl, ham, cold turkey, toast— not 
made in the English fashion, but boiled in melted 
butter, — a kind of crumpet called waffles, &c. &c. 
The tea and coffee were poured out and handed by 
a girl with long ringlets and ear-rings, not remarkable 
for neatness of apparel, and who remained seated, 
unless when actually engaged in the discharge of 
her functions. Nothing could exceed the gra^'ity of 
her expression and deportment, and there was an air 
of cool indifference about her mode of ministering 
to the wants of the guests, wdiich was certainly far 


from prepossessing. This New England Hebe, 
however, was good-looking, and with the addition 
of a smile would have been pleasing. 

Having concluded the meal, I amused myself on 
our return to the public room, by making observa- 
tions on the company. The clamour of Babel could 
not have been much worse than that which filled the 
apartment. I attempted to discriminate between 
lawyer and client, but the task was not easy. There 
was in both the same keen and callous expression 
of worldly anxiety ; the same cold selfishness of look 
and manner. The scene altogether was not agreeable; 
many of the company were without shoes, others 
without a cravat, and compared with people of the 
same class in England, they were dirty both in 
habit and person. It is always unpleasant to mingle 
in a crowd, with the consciousness that you have no 
sympathy or fellow-feeling with the individuals that 
compose it. I therefore soon desisted from ray task 
of observation, and having fully digested the con- 
tents of a Worcester newspaper, determined on re- 
tiring for the night. 

The process in England in such circumstances, is 


to ring for the chamber-maid, but in America there 
are no bells, and no chamber-maids. You there- 
fore walk to the bar, and solicit the favour of being 
supplied with a candle, a request which is ultimately, 
though by no means immediately, complied with. 
You then explore the way to your apartment unas- 
sisted, and with about the same chance of success as 
the enterprising Parry in his hunt after the north- 
west passage. Your number is 63, but in what part 
of the mansion that number is to be found, you are 
of course without the means of probable conjecture. 
Let it be supposed, however, that you are more for- 
tunate than Captain Parry, and at length discover 
the object of your search. If you are an English- 
man, and too young to have roughed it under Wel- 
lington, you are probably, what in this country is 
called " mighty particular ;" rejoice in a couple of 
comfortable pillows, to say nothing of a lurking pre- 
j udice in favour of multiplicity of blankets, especi- 
ally with the thermometer some fifty degrees below 
the freezing point. Such luxuries, however, it is 
ten to one you will not find in the uncurtained crib 
in which you are destined to pass the night. Your 


first impulse, therefore, is to walk down stairs and 
make known your wants to the landlord. This is a 
mistake. Have nothing to say to him. You may 
rely on it, he is much too busy to have any time 
to throw away in humouring the whimsies of a 
foreigner; and should it happen, as it does some- 
times in the New England States, that the establish- 
ment is composed of natives, your chance of a com- 
fortable sleep for the night, is about as great as that 
of your gaining the Thirty Thousand pound prize in 
the lottery. But if there are black, and, still better, 
if there are Irish servants, your prospect of comfort 
is wonderfully improved. A douceur, judiciously 
administered, generally does the business, and when 
you at length recline after the fatigues of the day, 
you find your head has acquired at least six inches 
additional elevation, and the superincumbent weight 
of woollen has been largely augmented. 

It was at Worcester that I received this most use- 
ful information. Being in want of the above- men- 
tioned accommodations, I deputed my servant to 
make an humble representation of my necessities to 

the landlord. The flinty heart of Boniface, however, 


was not to be moved. The young lady Avith tlie 
ringlets and ear-rings was no less inexorable, but, 
luckily for me, a coloured waiter was not proof 
against the eloquence of a quarter dollar. In five 
minutes the articles were produced, and as sailors say, 
" I tumbled in" for the night, with a reasonable 
prospect of warmth and comfort. 

After a good breakfast on the following morning, 
I felt again fortified for the perils and disagreeables 
of the mail- stage. Mr Harding, to whose merits as 
an artist I have already alluded, was fortunately a 
fellow-passenger, being on his way to join his family 
at Springfield. The only other passenger was a 
young lady, with an enormous band-box on her 
knee, to whom Mr Harding introduced me. There 
was something in this fair damsel and her band-box 
peculiarly interesting. Slie sat immediately oppo- 
site to me, but nothing of her face or person Avas 
visible, except a forehead, a few dark ringlets, and 
a pair of the most beautiful eyes in the world, which, 
like the sun just peeping above the horizon, sent the 
brightest flashes imaginable, along the upper level of 
this Brobdignag of a band-box. 

VOL. I. Y 


The snow had continued to fall during the night, 
and the jolting of the " mail-stage" was certainly 
any thing but agreeable. When out of humour, 
however, by the united influence of the weather and 
the road, I had only to direct a single glance to- 
wards the beautiful orbs scintillating in my front, to 
be restored to equanimity. Wlien any thing at all 
jocular was said, one could read a radiant laughter 
in this expressive feature, though her lips gave 
utterance to no sound of merriment. For about five 
hours the fair oculist continued our fellow-traveller, 
and I had at length come to think of her as some 
fantastic and preternatural creation ; such a being 
as one sometimes reads of in a German romance, 
half band-box, and half eye. 

At length she left the coach. When her band- 
box was about to be removed from its position, I re- 
member averting my face, lest a view of her counte- 
nance might destroy the fanciful interest she had 
excited. She departed, therefore, unseen ; but those 
eyes will live in my memory, long after all record 
of her fellow-traveller shall have faded from hers. 

After her departure, Harding told me her story ; 


she was a young lady of respectable connexions, 
and with the consent of her family, had become en- 
gaged to a young man, who afterwards proved false 
to his vows, and married a wealthier bride. She 
had suffered severely under this disappointment, and 
was then going on a visit to her aunt at Northamp- 
ton, in the hope that change of scene might contri- 
bute to the restoration of her tranquillity. That this 
result would follow I have no doubt. Those eyes were 
too laughing and brilliant, to belong permanently to 
a languishing and broken-hearted maiden. 

We dined at a tolerable inn, and proceeded on 
our journey. The snow had ceased ; there was a 
bright sun above, but I never remember to have felt 
cold so intense. It was late before we reached 
Springfield, where I had determined on making a 
day's halt. The inn was comfortable, and I suc- 
ceeded in procuring private apartments. On the fol- 
lowing morning I took a ramble over the village, 
which is by far the gayest I had yet seen in the 
course of my tour. It abounds with white frame- 
work villas, with green Venetian blinds, and porti- 
coes of Corinthian or Ionic columns sadly out of 


proportion. It appears to me, however, that mas- 
sive columns — and columns not apparently massive 
at least, must be absurd — are sadly out of place when 
attached to a wooden building. When such fragile 
materials are employed, lightness should be the chief 
object of the architect, but these transatlantic Palla- 
dios seem to despise the antiquated notions of fitness 
and proportion which prevail in other parts of the 
world. Tliey heap tawdry ornament upon their 
gingerbread creations, and you enter a paltry clap- 
board cottage, through — what is at least meant for — 
a splendid colonnade. 

In the country through which I passed, the houses 
are nearly all of the class which may be called 
comfortable. The general scenery at a more favour- 
rable season I can easily conceive to be pretty. The 
chief defect is the utter flimsiness of the houses, and 
the glaring effect arising from the too profuse use 
of the paint-brush. They are evidently not calcu- 
lated to last above fifteen or twenty years, and this 
extreme fragility renders more glaring the absurdity 
of that profusion of gewgaw decoration in which the 
richer inhabitants delight to indulge. 


The country is too new for a landscape painter. 
With variety of surface, and abundance of wood and 
water, an artist will certainly find many scenes wor- 
thy of his pencil, but the worm fences, and the fresh- 
ness and regularity of the houses, are sadly destruc- 
tive of the picturesque. Had the buildings been of 
more enduring materials, time, the beautifier, would 
have gradually mellowed down their hardness of out- 
line, and diminished the unpleasant contrast which 
is here so obtrusively apparent between the works of 
man and those of nature. But at present there is 
no chance of this. Each generation builds for itself, 
and even the human frame is less perishable than 
the rickety and flimsy structures erected for its 

The advantages of a country, however, are not to 
be measured by the degree of gratification it may 
administer to the taste or imagination of a traveller. 
Where plenty is in the cottage, it matters but little 
what figure it may make on the canvass of the 
painter. I have travelled in many countries, but 
assuredly never in any, where tlie materials of hap- 
piness were so widely and plentifully diffused as in 


these New England States. And yet the people are 
not happy, or if they be, there is no faith in Lavater. 
Never have I seen countenances so furrowed hy care 
as those of this favoured people. Both soul and 
body appear to have been withered up by the anxie- 
ties of life; and with all appliances of enjoyment 
within their reach, it seems as if some strange curse 
had gone forth against them, which said, " Ye shall 
not enjoy." One looks in vain here for the ruddy 
and jovial faces which in England meet us on every 
hand. The full, broad, and muscular frame; the 
bold serenity of aspect; the smile, the laugh, the song, 
the dance, — let not a traveller seek these, or any indi- 
cations of a light heart and a contented spirit in the 
New England States. 

Let me not, however, be misunderstood. The dis- 
tinction I would draw is simply this. The English- 
man has the inclination to be happy, though not 
always the means of happiness at command. The 
New Englander, with a thousand blessings, is defi- 
cient in what outvalues them all, the disposition to 
enjoyment. He is inter opes inops. 

Something of this misfortune, I have no doubt, is 


attributable to climate, but I cannot help believing 
it in a great degree hereditary. The pilgrim fathers 
were certainly not men of a very enviable tempera- 
ment. Full of spiritual pride, needy, bigoted, su- 
perstitious, ignorant and despising knowledge, intol- 
erant, fleeing from persecution in the Old World, 
and yet bringing it with them to the New ; such 
were the men to whom this people may trace many 
of their peculiarities. That they were distinguished 
by some of these qualities, was their misfortune ; that 
they were marked by others, was their crime. They 
and their descendants spread through the wilderness, 
and solitude had not the effect of softening the aspe- 
rities of faith or feeling. The spirit of social depend- 
ence became broken ; and as ages passed on, and 
the increase of population, and the pursuits of gain, 
induced them to collect in masses, the towns and vil- 
lages became peopled with men of solitary habits, 
relying on their own resources, and associating only 
for the purposes of gain. Such, doubtless, the New 
Englanders were ; and such they are now, to the 
observation of a stranger, who is conscious of no 
temptation to misrepresent them. 


The character of the New England ers is a subject 
on which I confess I feel tempted to be prolix. In 
truth, it seems to me so singular and anomalous, so 
compounded of what is valuable and what is vile, 
that I never feel certain of having succeeded in ex- 
pressing the precise combination of feeling which 
it inspires. As a philanthropist, I should wish them 
to be less grasping and more contented with the bless- 
ings they enjoy, and would willingly baiter a good 
deal of vanity, and a little substantial knavery, for an 
additional infusion of liberal sentiment, and gene- 
rous feeling. 

Springfield is the seat of one of the chief arsenals 
and manufactories of arms in the United States. 
An officer of artillery was good enough to conduct 
me over these. Every thing seemed well managed, 
and the machinery at all points very complete. 
About twelve or thirteen thousand muskets are pro- 
duced annually. My conductor was a particularly 
well-informed and obliging person, who had lately 
returned from Europe, where he had been sent to 
receive instruction in regard to the recent improve- 
ments in gunnery. 


The officers of the United States army are better 
paid than the English. A captain receives about 
L.400 a-year, or about L.lOO more than a lieuten- 
ant-colonel in our service. But "'there is this differ- 
ence between the British army and that of the United 
States ; no one can enter the latter for pleasure, or 
to enjoy the enviable privilege of wearing an epaulet 
and an embroidered coat. The service is one of real 
and almost constant privation. The troops are scat- 
tered about in forts and garrisons in remote and 
unhealthy situations, and are never quartered, as 
with us, in the great cities. The principal stations 
are on the Canadian and Indian frontiers, and on 
the Mississippi, and I imagine the sort of life they 
lead there would not be greatly relished by his Ma- 
jesty's Coldstream Guards or the Blues. I confess 
I was rather surprised at the smallness of the United 
States army. It amounts only to 6000 men inclu- 
ding all arms, and I was certainly not less astonished 
at the enormous proportion of desertions, which are 
no less than 1000 annually, or one-sixth of the whole 
numbers. Desertions in the British army do not 
exceed one in a hundred. 

VOL. I. z 


On the following day the snow was so deep as to 
render the road impassable for coaches, so with the 
thermometer fifteen degrees below zero, I took a 
sleigh for Hartford, where, after a journey of five 
hours, we were deposited in safety. Hartford is a 
small and apparently a very busy town on the Con- 
necticut river. It is rather remarkable as being the 
seat of the celebrated convention, which, during the 
late war with Britain, threatened the dissolution of 
the Union. 

I slept at Hartford. The inn was dirty, but this 
disadvantage was more than counterbalanced by its 
possession of an Irish waiter, to whom nothing was 
impossible, and who bustled about in my behalf with 
an activity and good- will which fortunately it was 
not difficult to repay. The stage for Newhaven did 
not start till late on the following day, and I had all 
the morning on my hands. What to make of it I did 
not know ; so I wandered about the town, saw the 
College and the New Exchange Buildings, and a 
church, and a gaol, and a school, and the Charter 
Oak, and peeped into all the shops, and then re- 
turned to the inn with the assured conviction that 


Hartford is one of the stupidest places on the sur- 
face of the globe. I may as well, however, relate a 
circumstance which happened here, since it- may 
perhaps throw some light on the New England 

I had returned from my ramble, and was sitting 
near the stove in the public room, engaged in the 
dullest of all tasks, reading an American newspaper, 
when a woman and a girl, about ten years old, en- 
tered, cold and shivering, having just been dischar- 
ged from a Boston stage-coach. The woman was 
respectable in appearance, rather good-looking, and 
evidently belonging to what may in this country be 
called the middling class of society. She imme- 
diately enquired at what hour the steam- boat set off 
for New York, and, on learning that owing to the 
river being frozen up, it started from Newhaven, 
some thirty miles lower, she was evidently much 
discomposed, and informed the landlord, that calcu- 
lating on meeting the steam-boat that morning at 
Hartford, her pocket was quite unprepared for the 
expense of a further land journey, and the charges 


of different sorts necessarily occasioned by a day's 
, delay on the road. 

The landlord shrugged up his shoulders and walk- 
ed off; the Irish waiter looked at her with something 
of a quizzical aspect, and an elderly gentleman, 
engaged like myself i» reading a newspaper, raised 
his eyes for a moment, discharged his saliva on the 
carpet, and then resumed his occupation. Though 
evidently without a willing audience, the woman con- 
tinued her complaints ; informed us she had left her 
husband m Boston to visit her brother in New York ; 
explained and re-explained the cause of her misfor- 
tune, and a dozen times at least concluded by an 
assurance, — of the truth of which the whole party 
were quite satisfied, — that she was sadly puzzled 
what to do. 

In such circumstances, I know not whether it was 
benevolence, or a desire to put a stop to her detest- 
able iteration, or a mingled motive compounded of 
both, that prompted me to offer to supply her with 
any money she might require. However, I did so, 
and the offer, though not absolutely refused, was 
certainly very ungraciously received. She stared at 


me expressed no thanks, and again commenced the 
detail of her grievances, of which, repetition had* 
something staled the infinite variety. I therefore 
left the apartment'. Shortly after the sleigh for 
Newhaven drove up, and I had entirely forgotten 
the amiable sufferer and her '{)ecuniary affliction, 
when she came up, and said, without any' expres- 
sion of civility, " You offered me money, I'll take 
it." I asked how much she wished. She ans'wered, 
sixteen dollars, which I immediately ordered my 
servant to give her. Being a Scotchman ,' however, 
he took the prudent precaution of requesting her 
address in New York, and received a promise that 
the amount of her debt should be transmitted to 
Bunker's on the following day. 

A week passed after my arrival in New York, and 
I heard no more either of the dollars or my fellow- 
traveller, and being curious to* know whether I had 
been cheated, I at length sent to demand repayment. 
My servant came back with the money. He had 
seen the woman, who expressed neither thanks nor 
gratitude ; and on being asked why she had violated 
her promise to discharge the debt, answered that she 


could not be at the trouble of sending tbe money, 
for she supposed it was my business to ask for it. 
It should be added, that the house in which she 
resided, was that of her brother, a respectable shop- 
keeper in one of the best streets in New York, 
whose establishment certainly betrayed no indica- 
tion of poverty. 

The truth is, that the woman was very far from 
being a swindler. She was only a Yankee, and 
troubled with an indisposition — somewhat endemic 
in New England — to pay money. She thought, per- 
haps, that a man who had been so imprudent as to 
lend to a stranger, might be so negligent as to forget 
to demand repayment. The servant might have lost 
her address; in short, it was better to take the 
chances, however small, of ultimately keeping the 
money, than to restore it unasked. All this might 
be very sagacious, but it certainly was not very high- 
principled or very honest. 

It was late before we reached Newhaven, and the 
greater part of the journey was performed in the 
dark. The inn was so crowded, that the landlord 
told me fairly he could not give me a bed. I then 


requested a sofa and a blanket, but with no greater 
success. However, he proved better than his word. 
I was shown to a sort of dog-hole without plaster, 
which I verily believe was the dormitory of the black 
waiter, who was displaced on my account. The smell 
of the bed was most offensive, the sheets were dirty, 
and the coverlid had the appearance of an old horse- 
cloth. The only other furniture in the apartment 
was a table and a wooden chair ; no glass, no wash- 
ing-stand, no towels. These articles were promised 
in the morning, but they never came, though most 
importunately demanded. The heat of the crowded 
sitting-room was intense ; the temperature of the 
bed-room was in the opposite extreme. At length, 
driven from the former, I wrapped myself in my 
cloak, and sought slumber on the filthy mass of 
flock from which its usual sable occupant had been 

Cold weather and strong odours are not favour- 
able to sleep. In about two hours I arose, and ex- 
ploring my way to the sitting-room, now untenanted, 
passed the rest of the night in a chair by the fire. 
The steam-boat was to start at five in the morning, 


and at half past four several coaches drove up to 
convey the passengers to the quay. I saw nothing 
of Newhaven, and its associations in my memory are 
certainly far from pleasant. It was with satisfac- 
tion I reached the steam-boat, and bade farewell to 
it for ever. 

The night concluded, however, more fortunately 
than it commenced. I procured a berth in the steam- 
boat, and was only roused from a comfortable snoose 
by the announcement of breakfast, and the clatter of 
knives and plates which immediately succeeded it. 
Under such circumstances, I had experience enough 
to know that no time was to be lost. There is a tide 
in the affairs of steam-passengers in America, which 
must be taken at the flood in order to lead either to 
breakfast or dinner. A minute, therefore, was 
enough to find me seated at the table, and contri- 
buting my strenuous efforts to the work of destruc- 
tion. Breakfast was succeeded by the still greater 
luxury of basin and towel, and when I went on deck, 
a few whiffs of a cigar, and the fine scenery of Long 
Island Sound, had the effect of obliterating all trace 
of the disagreeables of the night. 


The voyage was pleasant and prosperous; the 
weather, though still cold, was clear, and before day 
closed, I again found myself at New York. 




On the day after my arrival at New York, the city 
was thrown into a bustle by the intelligence that a 
packet from Liverpool had been telegraphed in the 
offing. Owing to the prevalence of contrary winds, 
an unusual period had elapsed without an arrival 
from Europe, and the whole population seemed agog 
for news. I dined that day with a friend ; and as 
there was no party, and we were both anxious to re- 
ceive the earliest intelligence, he proposed our walk- 
ing to the News-room, and afterwards returning to 
wine and the dessert. On approaching the house, 
we found some thousands of people collected about 
the door, and in the window was exhibited a pla- 
card of the following import: — *' Duke of Welling- 


ton and Ministry resigned ; Lord Grey, Premier : 
Brougham, Lord Chancellor," &c. 

It was impossible not to be struck with the ex- 
treme interest this intelligence excited. Here and 
there were groups of quidnuncs engaged in earnest 
discussion on the consequences of this portentous 
intelligence. Some anticipated immediate revolu- 
tion ; a sort of second edition of the Three Days of 
Paris. Others were disposed to think that Revolu- 
tion, though inevitable, would be more gradual. A 
third party looked forward to the speedy restoration 
of the Duke of Wellington to power. But all partook 
of the pervading excitement, and the sensation pro- 
duced by these changes in the government, could 
scarcely have been greater in Liverpool than in New 

On the last night of the year there was a public 
assembly, to which I received the honour of an in- 
vitation. The ball-rooms were very tolerable, but 
the entrance detestable. It led close past the bar of 
the City Hotel, and the ladies, in ascending the stair, 
which, by the by, was offensively dirty, must have 
been drenched with tobacco smoke. Within, how- 


ever, I found assembled a great deal of beauty. At 
seventeen, nothing can be prettier than a smiling 
damsel of New York. At twenty-two, the same 
damsel, metamorphosed into a matron, has lost a good 
deal of her attraction. I had never been in so large 
and miscellaneous a party before. I looked about 
for solecisms of deportment, but could detect none 
on the part of the ladies. There was, however, a 
sort of Transatlanticism about them ; and even their 
numerous points of resemblance to my fair country- 
women, had the effect of marking out certain sha- 
dowy differences, to be felt rather than described. 

There was certainly an entire absence of what the 
French call Vair nobhy — of that look of mingled ele- 
gance and distinction which commands admiration 
rather than solicits it. Yet the New York ladies are 
not vulgar. Far from it. I mean only to say that 
they are not precisely European ; and with the pos- 
session of so much that is amiable and attractive, 
they may safely plead guilty to want of absolute 
conformity to an arbitrary standard, the authority of 
which they are not bound to acknowledge. 

But what shall be said of the gentlemen ? Why, 


simply that a party of the new police, furnished 
.orth with the requisite toggery^ would have played 
their part in the hall-room, with ahout as much 
grace. There is a certain uncontrollahle rigidity of 
muscle ahout an American, and a want of sensibility 
to the lighter graces of deportment, which makes 
him perhaps the most unhopeful of all the votaries 
of Terpsichore. In this respect the advantage is 
altogether on the side of the ladies. Their motions 
are rarely inelegant, and never grotesque. I leave it 
to other travellers to extend this praise to the gentle- 

An American dandy is a being sui generis. He has 
probably travelled in Europe, and brought back to 
his own country, a large stock of second-rate fop- 
peries, rings, trinkets, and gold chains, which he 
displays, evidently with full confidence in their 
powers of captivation. For a season after his return 
he is all the fashion. He suggests new improve- 
ments in quadrille dancing, and every flourish of his 
toe becomes the object of sedulous imitation. Tailors 
wait on him to request the privilege of inspecting his 
wardrobe. His untravelled companions regard with 


envy his profusion of jewellery and waistcoats of 
figured velvet. He talks of " Dukes and Earls, and 
all their sweeping train ; and garters, stars and coro- 
nets, appear" in his conversation, as if such things 
had been familiar to him from his infancy. In short, 
lie reigns for a time the Magnus Apollo of his native 
town, and his decrees in all matters of taste are 
received as the oracles of the god. 

But time passes on. The traveller has returned 
to the vulgar drudgery of the counting-house; his 
coats, like his affectations, become threadbare, and 
are replaced by the more humble productions of na- 
tive artists ; later tourists have been the heralds of 
newer fashions and fopperies; his opinions are no 
longer treated with deference ; he sinks to the level 
of other men, and the vulgar dandy is gradually 
changed into a plain American citizen, content with 
the comforts of life, without concerning himself 
about its elegancies. 

The ball was very pleasant, and one of its chief 
agremens undoubtedly was an excellent supper. The 
oyster soup, a favourite dish in this part of the 
world, was all that Dr Kitchiner could have desired. 

new-year's day. 279 

Turkey, ham, terrapin — a sort of land crab, on which 
I have not ventured — jellies, creams, ices, fruit, 
hot punch, and cold lemonade, were in profusion. 
Having afterwards remained to witness some badly 
danced quadrilles, and the perpetration of the first 
gallopade ever attempted on the American continent, 
I returned to take " my pleasure in mine inn." 

It is the custom in New York, on the first day of 
the year, for the gentlemen to visit all their acquaint- 
ances ; and the omission of this observance in regard 
to any particular family, would be considered as a 
decided slight. The clergy, also, hold a levee on 
this day, which is attended by their congregation. 
For my own part, I confess, I found the custom ra- 
ther inconvenient, there being about thirty families, 
whose attentions rendered such an acknowledgment 
indispensable. Determined, however, to fail in no- 
thing which could mark my sense of the kindness of 
my friends, I ordered a coach, and set forth at rather 
an early hour on this task of visit-paying. 

The first person on whom I waited was Dr Wain- 
wright, the clergyman of Gracechurch, in whose so- 
ciety I had often experienced much pleasure. I 

280 new-year's day. 

found him attired in full canonicals, with a table 
displaying a profusion of wine and cake, and busied 
in conversing and shaking hands with his parishion- 
ers. Having paid my compliments, I proceeded on 
my progress, and in the course of about four hours 
had the satisfaction of believing that I had discharged 
my duty, though not, — as I afterwards remembered, 
— without some omissions, which I trust my friends 
were good enough to forgive. 

The routine is as follows : The ladies of a family 
remain at home to receive yhiis ; the gentlemen are 
abroad, actively engaged in paying them. You en- 
ter, shake hands, are seated, talk for a minute or 
two on the topics of the day, then hurry off as fast 
as you can. Wine and cake are on the table, of 
which each visitor is invited to partake. The cus- 
tom is of Dutch origin, and, I believe, does not pre- 
vail in any other city of the Union. I am told its 
influence on the social intercourse of families, is very 
salutary. The first day of the year is considered a 
day of kindness and reconciliation, on which petty 
diff'erences are forgotten, and trifling injuries for- 
given. It sometimes happens, that between friends 



long connected, a misunderstanding takes place. 
Each is too proud to make concessions, alienation 
follows, and thus are two families, very probably, 
permanently estranged. But on this day of annual 
amnesty, each of the offended parties calls on the 
wife of the other, kind feelings are recalled, past 
grievances overlooked, and at their next meeting they 
take each other by the hand, and are again friends. 

In company with a most intelligent and kind 
friend, who was lately mayor of the city, I visited 
the Navy yard at Brooklyn. Commodore Chauncey, 
the commander, is a fine specimen of an old sailor of 
the true breed. He has a good deal of the Benbow 
about him, and one can read in his open and wea- 
therbeaten countenance, that it has long braved both 
the battle and the breeze. He took us over several 
men-of-war, and a frigate yet on the stocks, which 
appeared the most splendid vessel of her class I had 
ever seen. American men-of-war are built chiefly 
of live oak, the finest and most durable material in 
the world. 

Every thing in these navy yards is conducted with 

admirable judgment, for the plain reason, as the 
VOL. I. 2 a 


Americans themselves assure me, that the manage- 
ment of the navy is a department in which the mob, 
everywhere else triumphant, never venture to inter- 
fere. There is good sense in this abstinence. The 
principles of government, which are applicable to a 
civil community, would make sad work in a man-of- 
war. The moment a sailor is afloat, he must cast 
the slough of democracy, and both in word and ac- 
tion cease to be a free man. Every ship is necessa- 
rily a despotism, and the existence of any thing like 
a deliberative body, is utterly incompatible with 
safety. The necessity of blind obedience is impe- 
rious, though it is not easy to understand how those 
accustomed to liberty and equality on shore, can 
readily submit to the rigours of naval discipline. 

In the same excellent company I made the round 
of the most interesting public institutions of the city 
— the House of Refuge for juvenile delinquents, the 
Deaf and Dumb Asylum, and the Asylum for Lu- 
natics. All are conducted with exemplary judgment, 
and benevolence exerted with an ardent but enlight- 
ened zeal for the general interests of humanity. The 
first of these institutions is particularly laudable, 


both as respects its objects and management. It is 
an asylum for juvenile offenders of both sexes, who, 
by being thrown into the depraved society of a com- 
mon gaol, would, in all probability, grow up into 
hardened and incorrigible criminals. In this insti- 
tution, they are taught habits of regular industry ; 
are instructed in the principles of religion, and when 
dismissed, they enter the world with ample means at 
command of earning an honest livelihood. 

The girls are generally bred up as sempstresses or 
domestic servants ; and on quitting the institution, 
are uniformly sent to a part of the country, where 
their previous history is unknown. By this j udicious 
arrangement they again start fair, with the full ad- 
vantage of an unblemished character. The establish- 
ment seemed a perfect hive of industry. The taste 
and talent of the boys is consulted in the choice of 
a trade. There were young carpenters and black- 
smiths, and tailors and brushmakers, and Lilliputian 
artificers of various kinds, all busily engaged in their 
peculiar handicraft. Though looking at the details 
of the establishment with a critical eye, I could de- 
tect no fault in any department. There can be no 


doubt, I think, that the benevolence to which this 
institution is indebted for its origin and support, is of 
the most enlightened kind. 

I have not yet spoken of the political parties in 
this country, and, in truth, the subject is so compli- 
cated with opinions continually varying, and inte- 
rests peculiar to particular districts, and includes the 
consideration of so many topics, apparently uncon- 
nected with politics altogether, that I now enter on 
it with little expectation of making it completely in- 
telligible to an English reader. Of course, all the 
world knows that the population of the Union is, or 
was, divided into two gi'eat parties, entitled Fede- 
ralist and Republican. These terms, however, by 
no means accurately express the differences which 
divide them. Both parties are Federalist, and both 
Republican, but the former favour the policy of grant- 
ing wider powers to the Federal legislature and exe- 
cutive ; of asserting their control over the State go- 
vernments ; of guarding the Constitution against po- 
pular encroachment ; in short, of strengthening the 
bonds of public union, and maintaining a presiding 
power of sufficient force and energy, to overawe tur- 


bulence at home, and protect the national honour 
and interests abroad. 

The Democratic Republican, on the other hand, 
would enlarge to the utmost extent the political in- 
fluence of the people. He is in favour of universal 
suffrage; a dependent judiciary ; a strict and literal 
interpretation of the articles of the Constitution, and 
regards the Union simply as a voluntary league be- 
tween sovereign and independent States, each of 
which possesses the inalienable right of deciding on 
the legality of the measures of the general govern- 
ment. The Federalist, in short, is disposed to regard 
the United States as one and indivisible, and the 
authority of the United government as paramount to 
every other jurisdiction. The Democrat considers 
the Union as apiece of mosaic, tesselated with stones 
of different colours, curiously put together, but pos- 
sessing no other principle of cohesion than that of 
mutual convenience. The one regards the right of 
withdrawing from the national confederacy as inde- 
feasible in each of its members ; the other denies the 
existence of such right, and maintains the Federal 


government to be invested with the power of enfor- 
cing its decrees within the limits of the Union. 

During the period succeeding the Revolution, New 
England, pre-eminent in wealth, population, and in- 
telligence, gave her principles to the Union. The 
two first presidents were both Federalists, but their 
political opponents were rapidly increasing both in 
numbers and ^drulence, and even the services, the 
high name, and unsullied character of Washington, 
were not sufficient to protect him from the grossest 
and most slanderous attacks. Adams succeeded him, 
and certainly did something to merit the imputations 
which had been gratuitously cast on his predecessor. 
His sedition law was bad ; the prosecutions under it 
still worse, and in the very first struggle he was 
driven from office, to return to it no more.* 

It is evident that a constitution, however precise- 
ly defined, must differ in its practical operation, ac- 

* Carey in the Olive Branch mentions a prosecution under this act, 
in which a New Jersey man was tried and punished for expressing a 
desire, that the wadding of a gun discharged on a festival day, " had 
singed or otherwise inflicted damage on" a certain inexpressible part 
of Mr Adams ! After such a prosecution, one is only tempted to re- 
gret that the efficiency of the wish was not equal to its patriotism. 


cording to the principles on which it is administered. 
From the period of Jefferson's accession to power, a 
change in this respect took place. The government 
was then administered on democratic principles ; a 
silent revolution was going forward ; the principles, 
opinions, and habits of the people, all tended towards 
the wider extension of political rights ; and at the 
conclusion of the war with England, the Federalists 
became at length convinced, that the objects for 
which they had so long strenuously been contend- 
ing, were utterly unattainable. F'arther contention^ 
therefore, was useless. The name of Federalist had 
become odious to the people ; it was heard no more. 
No candidate for public favour ventured to come 
forward and declare his conviction, that a govern- 
ment, which looked for support to the prejudices of 
the populace, was necessarily less secure and bene- 
ficial than one which represented the deliberate 
convictions of the wealthier and more enlightened. 

The result of all this was, an apparent harmony of 
political principle throughout the Union. Open dif- 
ferences of opinion were no longer expressed, as to 
the broad and fundamental doctrines of government. 


The ascendency of numbers, in opposition to that of 
property and intelligence, had been firmly estab- 
lished; the people, in the widest sense of the term, 
had been recognised as the only source of power 
and of honour; and the government, instead of at- 
tempting to control and regulate the passions and 
prejudices of the multitude, were forced, by the ne- 
cessity of their situation, to adopt them as the guide 
and standard of their policy. They were compelled, 
in short, to adopt the measures, and profess the prin- 
ciples most palatable to the people, instead of those 
which wider knowledge and keener sagacity might 
indicate as most for their advantage. 

I remember one of my first impressions in the 
United States was that of surprise, at the harmony 
in regard to the great principles of government, 
which seemed to pervade all classes of the commu- 
nity. In every thing connected with men and 
measures, however, all was clamour and confusion. 
The patriot of one company was the scoundrel of 
the next, and to an uninterested observer, the praise 
and the abuse seemed both to rest on a foundation 
too narrow to afford support to such disproportionate 


superstructures. Parties there evidently were, but it 
was not easy to become master of the distinctions on 
which they rested. I asked for the Federalists, and 
was told, that like the mammoth and the megathe- 
rion, they had become extinct, and their principles 
delighted humanity no longer. I asked for the Demo- 
crats, and I was desired to look on the countenance 
of every man I met in the street. This puzzled me, 
for the principles of this exploded party, appeared, 
in my deliberate conviction, to be those most in 
accordance with political wisdom, and I had little 
faith in the efficacy of sudden conversions, either in 
politics or religion. 

In such circumstances, instead of attempting to 
grope my way to a conclusion, by any dark and 
doubtful hypothesis, I determined to demand infor- 
mation from those best calculated to afford it. I 
therefore explained my difficulties to one of the most 
eminent individuals of the Union, whom I knew at 
least to have been formerly a Federalist. " How 
comes it," I asked, " that the party which you for- 
merly adorned by your talents and eloquence, is no 

longer to be found? Is it, that the progress of 
VOL. I. 2 b 


events, increased experience, and more deliberate 
and enlightened views, have induced you to relin- 
quish your former tenets; or, that still entertaining 
the same opinions, you are simply withheld by policy 
from expressing them ?" His answer — in substance 
as'follows — was too striking to be forgotten. " My 
opinions, and I believe those of the party to which 
I belonged, are unchanged ; and the course of events 
in this country has been such, as to impress only a 
deeper and more thorough conviction of their wis- 
dom. But, in the present state of public feeling, we 
dare not express them. An individual professing 
such opinions, would not only find himself excluded 
from every office of public trust, within the scope of 
his reasonable ambition, but he would be regarded 
by his neighbours and fellow-citizens with an evil 
eye. His words and actions would become the ob- 
jects of jealous and malignant scrutiny, and he would 
have to sustain the unceasing attacks of a host of 
unscrupulous and ferocious assailants. And for what 
object is his life to be thus embittered, and he is to 
be cut off from the common objects of honourable 
ambition ? Why, for the satisfaction of expressing 


his adherence to an obsolete creed, and his persua- 
sion of the wisdom of certain doctrines of govern- 
ment, which his judgment assures him, are utterly 
impracticable in the present condition of society." 

When the Americans do agree, therefore, their 
unanimity is really not very wonderful, seeing it 
proceeds from the observance of the good old rule, 
of punishing all difference of opinion. The conse- 
quence, however, has been, not the eradication of 
federal principles, but a discontinuance of their pro- 
fession. The combatants fight under a new banner, 
but the battle is not less bitter on that account. There 
is no longer any question with regard to increase of 
power on the part of the general government; that 
has long since been decided; but the point of conten- 
tion now is, whether it shall keep that authority with 
which it is at present understood to be invested. But 
even this substantial ground of difference is rarely 
brought prominently forward in debate. The 
struggle generally is with regard to particular mea- 
sures, involving many collateral interests, but which 
are felt to have a tendency to one side or the other. 
Thus one great subject of discussion relates to the 


power of the government to expend a portion of the 
national funds in internal improvements. In 1830, 
a hill which had passed the legislature for the con- 
struction of a national road, was returned with the 
veto of the President. By the articles of the consti- 
tution, the federal legislature are invested with the 
power of " establishing post-offices and post-roads." 
The doubt is, whether the word establish gives the 
privilege to construct, or is to be understood as sim- 
ply granting authority to convert into post- roads, 
thoroughfares already in existence. A principle of 
great importance is no doubt involved in this ques- 
tion, since by it must be decided whether the federal 
government have the power of adopting any general 
system of improvements, or of executing public 
works with a view to the national advantage. The 
existence of such a power would no doubt materially 
tend to strengthen its influence, and this, which is a 
recommendation with one party, constitutes the chief 
objection with the other. General Jackson is the 
leading champion on the one side; Mr Clay, his 
opponent for the Presidency, on the other. The latter 
is backed by the northern and a considerable portion 


of tlie Central States ; the former by the Southern 
and Western. 

There can be no doubt, I imagine, that the Fede- 
ralists, in supporting the affirmative of this question, 
are influenced by the tendency of the opinions they 
advocate, to enlarge and strengthen the power of 
the executive, but the grounds on which they attempt 
to gain proselytes are entirely collateral. They urge 
the general expediency of such a power ; the impos- 
sibility of inducing the legislatures of the different 
States to concur heartily in any one project for the 
benefit of the whole ; the necessity of unity of exe- 
cution, as well as unity of design ; and the probabi- 
lity, that if such improvements are not undertaken 
by the federal government, they will never be exe- 
cuted at all. 

Of course, such questions as the Tariff, and that 
of which I have just spoken, are not exclusively 
decided by political principle. Private interest steps 
in ; many of the democratic party adopt the views of 
their opponents on some single question of policy, 
and where that is of great importance, range them- 
selves under the same banner. Thus, a candidate for 


Congress is often supported by men diflfering on many 
questions, and agreeing only in one. Commercial 
men are usually in favour of the system of internal 
improvements, because these must generally bring 
with them increased facilities for commerce. A new 
road may open a new market ; the deepening of a 
harbour may change the whole aspect of a province ; 
and those, who by their local position or pursuits 
are more immediately interested in these benefits, 
may be pardoned, if, on an occasion of such moment, 
they lay aside their principles, and act on the nar- 
rower and stronger motive of personal advantage. 

In a country of such extraordinary extent as the 
United States, there are of course a vast number of 
local interests, which modify the application of theo- 
retical principle. In the representative of each dis- 
trict, some peculiarity of creed is commonly necessary 
to secure the support of his constituents. Con- 
formity on leading points of opinion is not enough ; 
there is almost always some topic, however uncon- 
nected with politics, on which coincidence of senti- 
ment is demanded. I may quote a striking instance 
of this in the State of New York. 


Some years ago a man of the name of Morgan, 
who wrote a book revealing the secrets of Free- 
Masonry, was forcibly seized in his own dwelling- 
house, carried off, and murdered. Of the latter fact 
there is no direct proof, but it is impossible to 
account for the circumstances on any other supposi- 
tion. He is known to have been conveyed to the 
neighbourhood of Niagara, and there is evidence of 
his having passed a night there ; but from that period 
to the present, no traces of the unfortunate man 
have ever been discovered. Of course the vigilance 
of justice was aroused by this outrage. The public 
prosecutor was long unsuccessful in his attempts to 
bring the criminals to trial. At length, however, 
strong circumstantial evidence was obtained, which 
went to fix participation in the crime on two in- 
dividuals. They were brought to trial. A ma- 
jority of the jury had no doubt of their guilt, but the 
minority thought otherwise, and the men were 

The circumstance of the jurymen who procured 
the acquittal being Free-Masons, contributed to in- 
flame the public indignation, already strongly ex- 


cited by the original outrage. The principles of this 
secret society had not only caused crime to be com- 
mitted, but justice to be denied. Unquestionably 
Free-lNIasonry had given rise to murder, and as 
unquestionably, in the opinion of many, its influence 
had secured impunity to the offenders. The question 
thus arose, — is a society which produces such conse- 
quences to be tolerated in a Christian community ? 
A large portion of the people banded together in 
hostility to all secret and affiliated societies. They 
pronounced them dangerous and unconstitutional, 
and pledged themselves to exert their utmost efforts 
for their suppression. 

The Masons, on the other hand, were a widely 
ramified and powerful body, embracing in their 
number nearly half the population of the State. Their 
constitution gave them the advantage of unity of 
purpose and of action. The keenness of contest, of 
course, excited the passions of both parties. The pub- 
lic press ranged itself on different sides; every can- 
didate for office was compelled to make confession of 
his creed on this important subject, and to fight un- 
der the banner of one party or the other; and the 


distinction of Mason or Anti-Mason superseded, if 
it did not extinguish, those arising from differences 
more legitimately political. In the late elections 
the Masonic party were triumphant; but the struggle 
is still carried on with vigour, and there is no doubt 
that the votes in the next presidential election will 
be materially affected by it. Indeed the mania on 
this subject is daily spreading. It was at first exclu- 
sively confined to the State of New York ; it is now 
becoming diffused over the New England States 
and Pennsylvania. 

It is such collateral influences which puzzle an 
Englishman, when he attempts to become acquainted 
with the state of parties in this country. He looks 
for the broad distinction of political principle, and he 
finds men fighting about Masonry, or other matters 
which have no apparent bearing on the great doc- 
trines of government. He finds general opinions 
modified by local interests, and seeks in vain to dis- 
cover some single and definite question which may 
serve as a touchstone of party distinctions. It is only 
by acute and varied observation, and by conversa- 
tion with enlightened men of all parties, that he is 


enabled to make due allowance for the variations of 
the political compass, and judge accurately of the 
course which the vessel is steering. 

The Americans have a notion that they are a 
people not easily understood, and that to compre- 
hend their character requires a long apprentice- 
ship of philosophical observation, and more both of 
patience and liberality than are usually compatible 
with the temper and prejudices of foreign travel- 
lers. This is a mistake. The peculiarities of the 
Americans lie more on the surface than those of 
any people I have ever known. Their features are 
broad and marked ; there exists little individual 
eccentricity of character, and it is in their poli- 
tical relations alone that they are difficult to be 
understood. One fact, however, is confessed by all 
parties, that the progress of democratic principles 
from the period of the Revolution has been very great. 
During my whole residence in the United States, 
I conversed with no enlightened American, who 
did not confess, that the constitution now, though 
the same in letter with that established in 1789, is 
essentially different in spirit. It was undoubtedly 


the wish of Washington and Hamilton to counter- 
poise, as much as circumstances would permit, the 
rashness of democracy by the caution and wisdom 
of an aristocracy of intelligence and wealth. There 
is now no attempt at counterpoise. The weight is 
all in one scale, and how low, by continued increase 
of pressure, it is yet to descend, would require a 
prophet of some sagacity to foretell. I shall state a 
few circumstances which may illustrate the progress 
and tendency of opinion among the people of New 

In that city a separation is rapidly taking place 
between the different orders of society. The opera- 
tive class have already formed themselves into a 
society, under the name of " The Workies" in direct 
opposition to those who, more favoured by nature or 
fortune, enjoy the luxuries of life without the neces- 
sity of manual labour. These people make no secret 
of their demands, which to do them justice are few 
and emphatic. They are published in the news- 
papers, and may be read on half the walls of New 
York. Their first postulate is " equal and uni- 
versal EDUCATION." It is falsc, they say, to main- 


tain that tbere is at present no privileged order, no 
practical aristocracy, in a country where distinctions 
of education are permitted. That portion of the popu- 
lation whom the necessity of manual labour cuts off 
from the opportunity of enlarged acquirement, is in 
fact excluded from all the valuable offices of the 
State. As matters are now ordered in the United 
States, these are distributed exclusively among one 
small class of the community, while those who con- 
stitute the real strength of the country, have barely 
a voice in the distribution of those loaves and fishes, 
which they are not permitted to enjoy. There does 
exist then — they argue — an aristocracy of the most 
odious kind, — an aristocracy of knowledge, educa- 
tion, and refinement, which is inconsistent with the 
true democratic principle of absolute equality. They 
pledge themselves, therefore, to exert every effort, 
mental and physical, for the abolition of this flagrant 
injustice. They proclaim it to the world as a nui- 
sance which must be abated, before the freedom 
of an American be something more than a mere 
empty boast. They solemnly declare that they will 
not rest satisfied, till every citizen in the United 


States shall receive the same degree of education, 
and start fair in the competition for the honours and 
the offices of the state. As it is of course impossible 
— and these men know it to be so — to educate the 
labouring class to the standard of the richer, it is 
their professed object to reduce the latter to the 
same mental condition with the former ; to prohibit 
all supererogatory knowledge ; to have a maximum 
of acquirement beyond which it shall be punishable 
to go. 

But those who limit their views to the mental 
degradation* of their country, are in fact the mode- 
rates of the party. There are others who go still 
further, and boldly advocate the introduction of an 
Agrarian law, and a periodical division of pro- 
perty. These unquestionably constitute the extreme 
gauche of the Worky Parliament, but still they only 
follow out the principles of their less violent neigh- 
bours, and eloquently dilate on the justice and pro- 
priety of every individual being equally supplied 
with food and clothing ; on the monstrous iniquity 
of one man riding in his carriage while another walks 
on foot, and after his drive discussing a bottle of 


Champagne, while many of his neighbours are shame- 
fully compelled to be content with the pure element. 
Only equalize property, they say, and neither would 
drink Champagne or water, but both would have 
brandy, a consummation worthy of centuries of 
struggle to attain. 

All this is nonsense undoubtedly, nor do I say 
that this party, though strong in New York, is yet 
so numerous or so widely diffused as to create im- 
mediate alarm. In the elections, however, for the 
civic offices of the city, their influence is strongly 
felt ; and there can be no doubt that as population 
becomes more dense, and the supply of labour shall 
equal, or exceed the demand for it, the strength of this 
party must be enormously augmented. Their ranks 
will always be recruited by the needy, the idle and 
the profligate, and like a rolling snowball it will 
gather strength and volume as it proceeds, until at 
length it comes down thundering with the force and 
desolation of an avalanche. 

This event may be distant, but it is not the less 
certain on that account. It is nothing to say, that 
the immense extent of fertile territory yet to be 


occupied by an unborn population will delay the 
day of ruin. It will delay, but it cannot prevent it. 
The traveller, at the source of the Mississippi, in the 
very heart of the American Continent, may predict 
with perfect certainty, that however protracted the 
wanderings of the rivulet at his foot, it must reach 
the ocean at last. In proportion as the nearer lands 
are occupied, it is very evident that the region to 
which emigration will be directed must of necessity 
be more distant. The pressure of population there- 
fore will continue to augment in the Atlantic States, 
and the motives to removal become gradually weaker. 
Indeed, at the present rate of extension, the circle of 
occupied territory must before many generations be 
so enormously enlarged, that emigration will be con- 
fined wholly to the Western States. Then, and not 
till then, will come the trial of the American consti- 
tution ; and until that trial has been passed, it is 
mere nonsense to appeal to its stability. 

Nor is this period of trial apparently very distant. 
At the present ratio of increase, the population of 
the United States doubles itself in about twenty- 
four years, so that in half a century it will amount 


to about fifty millions, of which ten millions will be 
slaves, or at all events a degraded caste, cut off from 
all the rights and privileges of citizenship. Before 
this period it is very certain that the pressure of the 
population, on the means of subsistence, especially 
in the Atlantic States, will be very great. The price 
of labour will have fallen, while that of the neces- 
saries of life must be prodigiously enhanced. The 
poorer and more suffering class, will want the means 
of emigrating to a distant region of unoccupied ter- 
ritory. Poverty and misery will be abroad; the 
great majority of the people will be without pro- 
perty of any kind, except the thews and sinews with 
which God has endowed them ; they will choose 
legislators under the immediate pressure of priva- 
tion ; and if in such circumstances, any man can 
anticipate security of property, his conclusion must 
be founded, I suspect, rather on the wishes of a 
sanguine temperament, than on any rational cal- 
culation of probabilities. 

It is the present policy of the government to en- 
courage and stimulate the premature growth of a 
manufacturing population. In this it will not be 


successful, but no man can contemplate the vast 
internal resources of the United States,— the varied 
productions of their soil,— the unparalleled extent of 
river communication,— the inexhaustible stores of 
coal and iron which are spread even on the surface, 
and doubt that the Americans are destined to be- 
come a great manufacturing nation. Whenever in- 
crease of population shall have reduced the price of 
labour to a par with that in other countries, these 
advantages will come into full play; the United 
States will then meet England on fair terms in every 
market of the world, and in many branches of in- 
dustry at least, will very probably attain an un- 
questioned superiority. Huge manufacturing cities 
will spring up in various quarters of the Union, the 
population will congregate in masses, and all the 
vices incident to such a condition of society will 
attain speedy maturity. Millions of men will depend 
for subsistence on the demand for a particular ma- 
nufacture, and yet this demand will of necessity be 
liable to perpetual fluctuation. When the pendulum 
vibrates in one direction, there will be an influx of 
wealth and prosperity ; when it vibrates in the 
VOL, I. 2 G 


other, misery, discontent, and turbulence will spread 
through the land. A change of fashion, a war, the 
glut of a foreign market, a thousand unforeseen and 
inevitable accidents are liable to produce this, and 
deprive multitudes of bread, who but a month be- 
fore were enjoying all the comforts of life. Let it 
be remembered that in this suffering class will be 
practically deposited the whole political power of 
the state; that there can be no military force to 
maintain civil order, and protect property; and to 
what quarter, I should be glad to know, is the rich 
man to look for security, either of person or for- 
tune ? 

There will be no occasion however for convulsion 
or violence. The Worky convention will only have 
to choose representatives of their own principles, in 
order to accomplish a general system of spoliation, in 
the most legal and constitutional manner. It is not 
even necessary that a majority of the federal legis- 
lature should concur in this. It is competent to the 
government of each state to dispose of the property 
within their own limits as they think proper, and 
whenever a numerical majority of the people shall be 
in favour of an Agrarian law, there exists no coun- 


teracting influence to prevent, or even to retard its 

I have had the advantage of conversing with many 
of the most eminent Americans of the Union on the 
future prospects of their country, and I certainly 
remember none who did not admit that a period of 
trial, such as that I have ventured to describe, is 
according to all human calculation inevitable. Many 
of them reckoned much on education as a means of 
safety, and unquestionably in a country where the 
mere power of breathing carries with it the right of 
suffrage, the diffusion of sound knowledge is always 
essential to the public security. It unfortunately 
happens, however, that in proportion as poverty in- 
creases, not only the means but the desire of instruc- 
tion are necessarily diminished. The man whose 
whole energies are required for the supply of his 
bodily wants, has neither time nor inclination to 
concern himself about his mental deficiencies, and 
the result of human experience does not warrant 
us in reckoning on the restraint of individual cupi- 
dity, where no obstacle exists to its gratification, by 
any deliberate calculation of its consequences on so- 


ciety. There can be no doubt, that if men could be 
made wise enough to act on an enlarged and enlight- 
ened view of their own interest, government might 
be dispensed with altogether ; but what statesman 
would legislate on the probability of such a condi- 
tion of society, or rely on it as a means of future 
safety ? 

The general answer, however, is, that the state of 
things which I have ventured to describe, is very 
distant. " It is enough," they say, " for each ge- 
neration to look to itself, and we leave it to our de- 
scendants some centuries hence to take care of their 
interests as we do of ours. We enjoy all man- 
ner of freedom and security under our present con- 
stitution, and really feel very little concern about 
the evils which may afflict our posterity." I cannot 
help believing, however, that the period of trial is 
somewhat less distant than such reasoners comfort 
themselves by imagining ; but if the question be con- 
ceded that democracy necessarily leads to anarchy 
and spoliation, it does not seem that the mere length 
of road to be travelled is a point of much import- 
ance. This, of course, would vary according to the 


peculiar circumstances of every country in which the 
experiment might be tried. In England the journey 
would be performed with railway velocity. In the 
United States, with the great advantages they possess, 
it may continue a generation or two longer, '^but the 
termination is the same. The doubt regards time, 
not destination. 

At present the United States are perhaps more 
safe from revolutionary contention than any other 
country in the world. But this safety consists in 
one circumstance alone. The great majority of the 
people are possessed of property ; have what is called 
a stake in the hedge ; and are therefore, by interest, 
opposed to all measures which may tend to its inse- 
curity. It is for such a condition of society that the 
present constitution was framed ; and could this 
great bulwark of prudent government, be rendered 
as permanent as it is effective, there could be no as- 
signable limit to the prosperity of a people so favour- 
ed. But the truth is undeniable, that as population 
increases, another state of things must necessarily 
arise, and one unfortunately never dreamt of in the 
philosophy of American legislators. The majority 


of the people will then consist of men without pro- 
perty of any kind, subject to the immediate pressure 
of want, and then will be decided the great struggle 
between property and numbers ; on the one side 
hunger, rapacity, and physical power; reason, jus- 
tice, and helplessness on the other. The weapons of 
this fearful contest are already forged; the hands 
will soon be born that are to wield them. At all 
events, let no man appeal to the stability of the 
American government as being established by expe- 
rience, till this trial has been overpast. Forty years 
are no time to test the permanence, or, if I may so 
speak, the vitality of a constitution, the immediate 
advantages of which are strongly felt, and the evils 
latent and comparatively remote. 

It maybe well to explain, that what I have hitherto 
said has rather been directed to the pervading demo- 
cracy of the institutions of the different States than 
to the federal government. Of the latter it is dif- 
ficult to speak, because it is difficult to ascertain with 
any precision, the principles on which it is found- 
ed. I think it was a saying of Lord Eldon, that 
there was no act of Parliament so carefully worded 


that he could not drive a coach and six through it. 
The American lawyers have been at least equally 
successful with regard to their federal constitution. 
No man appears precisely to understand what it is, 
but all agree that it is something very wise. It is a 
sort of political gospel, in which every man finds a 
reflection of his own prejudices and opinions. Ask a 
New England statesman what is the constitution, and 
he will tell you something very different from a 
Georgian or South Carolinian. Even the halls of 
Congress yet echo with loud and bitter disputa- 
tion as to the primary and fundamental principle 
on which it is based. Ask the President of the 
United States, what is the nature of the government 
he administers with so much honour to himself and 
advantage to his country, and General Jackson will 
tell you that it is a government of consolidation, pos- 
sessing full power to enforce its decrees in every 
district of the Union. Ask the Vice-president, and 
he will assure you that the government is merely 
confederative, and depends for its authority on the 
free consent of the individual States. Ask Mr 
Clay or Mr Webster what are the powers of this 


apparently unintelligible constitution, and they will 
probably include in their number the privilege of 
taxing at discretion the commerce of the country, 
and expending the money so raised in projects of 
internal improvement. Put the same question to 
General Hayne or Mr Van Buren, and they will 
assert that such doctrine is of the most injurious 
tendency, and proceeds altogether on a false inter- 
pretation ; and yet all will agree that the federal 
constitution is the highest, most perspicuous, and 
faultless achievement of human legislation ! It may 
be so, but till this masterpiece of polity becomes 
something more definite and intelligible, a foreigner 
may perhaps be excused for holding his admiration 
in abeyance. 

At all events, it is abundantly clear, that the 
seeds of discord are plentifully scattered throughout 
the Union. Men of different habits, different inte- 
rests, different modes of thought ; the inhabitants of 
different climates, and agreeing only in mutual anti- 
pathy, are united under a common government, 
whose powers are so indefinite as to afford matter for 
interminable and rancorous disputation. Does such 


a government bear the impress of permanence ? Or 
does it not rather seem, in its very structure, to con- 
centrate all the scattered elements of decay ? 

When we contemplate the political relations of 
this singular people, the question naturally arises 
whether unity of government be compatible with 
great diversities of interest in the governed. There 
may possibly be reason ers who are prepared to an- 
swer this question in the affirmative, and to these we 
may look for instruction as to the advantages such a 
government as that of the United States possesses 
over others of smaller extent, and therefore capable 
of closer adaptation to the peculiar wants and inte- 
rests of a people. To me it certainly appears that 
there can be no firm adhesion without homogeneity 
in a population. Let men once feel that their inte- 
rests are the same ; that they are exposed to the 
same dangers ; solicitous for the same objects, parta- 
king of the same advantages, and connected by some 
reasonable degree of geographical propinquity, and 
in such a community there is no fear of separation 
or dismemberment. The population in such circum- 
stances forms one uniform and firmly-concatenated 

VOL. I. 2d 


whole, whereas a Union on other principles re- 
sembles that of a bag of sand, in which the separate 
particles, though held together for a time, retain 
their original and abstract individuality. 

Let us look for a moment at this Union. In 
Florida and Louisiana they grow sugar ; in Maine 
there is scarcely sun enough to ripen a crop of maize. 
The people of these States are no less different than 
the productions of their soil. They are animated by 
no sentiment of brotherhood and affinity. Nature has 
divided them by a distance of two thousand miles ; 
the interests of one are neither understood nor cared 
for in the other. In short, they are connected by 
nothing but a clumsy and awkward piece of machi- 
nery most felicitously contrived to deprive both of 
the blessing of self-government. What is gained by 
this? A certain degree of strength, undoubtedly, 
but not more than might be produced by an alliance 
between independent States, unaccompanied by that 
jealousy and conflict of opposing interests, which is 
the present curse of the whole Union. 

I remember, when at Washington, stating my im- 
pressions on this subject to a distinguished mem- 


ber of the House of Representatives, who admitted 
that the ends of good government would most pro- 
bably be better and more easily attainable were the 
Union divided into several republics, firmly united 
for purposes of defence, but enjoying complete legis- 
lative independence. " And yet," he continued, 
" the scheme could not possibly succeed. The truth 
is, the Union is necessary to prevent us from cutting 
each other's throats." Nor is this to be considered 
as the singular opinion of some eccentric indivi- 
dual. I have often conversed on the subject with 
men of great intelligence in different parts of the 
Union, and found a perfect harmony of opinion as 
to the results of separation. The northern gentle- 
men, in particular, seemed to regard the federal go- 
vernment as the ark of their safety from civil war 
and bloodshed. In such circumstances it might cha- 
ritably be wished, that their ark was a stronger sea- 
boat, and better calculated to weather the storms to 
which it is likely to be exposed. 

In truth, every year must increase the perils of 
this federal constitution. Like other bubbles, it is 
at any time liable to burst, and the world will then 


discover that its external glitter covered nothing but 
wind. It may split to-morrow on the Tariff ques- 
tion, or it may go on, till, like a dropsical patient, it 
dies of mere extension, when its remains will proba- 
bly be denied even the decent honours of Christian 
burial. It was near giving up the ghost at the time 
of the Hartford Convention, and is now in a state of 
grievous suffering from the Carolina fever. It will 
probably survive this attack as it did the former, 
since the great majority of the States are at present 
in favour of its continuance. But, with the pre- 
valence of the doctrine of nullification, it is impos- 
sible it can ever gain much strength or vigour. If 
each State is to have the privilege of sitting in 
judgment on the legality of its measures, the range 
of its legislation must necessarily be very con- 
fined. It will puzzle the ingenuity of American 
statesmen, to discover some policy which will prove 
palatable to the various members of the Union, and 
which all interpreters of the Constitution will con- 
fess to be within the narrow limits of its power. 

Let us suppose in England that every county as- 
serted the privilege of nullifying, when it thought 


proper, the acts of the British Parliament. Leices- 
tershire would summon her population in conven- 
tion to resist any reduction of the foreign wool- 
duty. Kent and Surry would nullify the hop- 
duty. Lay a rude finger on kelp, and a distant 
threat of separation would be heard from the Ork- 
neys. Dorset and Wilts would insist on the conti- 
nuance of the corn-laws, and woe to the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer who should venture to raise the 
Highland war-slogan by an impost on horned cattle ! 
Y€t in Great Britain there exist no provincial jea- 
lousies, and the interests of the whole kingdom are 
far more intimately amalgamated than can ever be 
the case in the United States. 

Amid the multitude of events which threaten the 
dissolution of the Union, I may venture to specify 
one. The influence of each State in the election of 
the President is in the exact ratio of the amount of 
its population. In this respect the increase in some 
States is far greater than in others. The unrivalled 
advantages of New York have already given it the 
lead, and the same causes must necessarily still conti- 
nue to augment its comparative superiority. Ohio— 


a State also rich in natural advantages — has recent- 
ly been advancing with astonishing rapidity, and the 
time is apparently not far distant when three States 
(New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio) must possess 
a numerical majority of the whole population, and of 
course the power of electing the President, inde- 
pendently of the other twenty-one States. Will the 
States thus virtually excluded, tamely submit to 
this, or will they appeal to Congress for an amend- 
ment of the constitution ? There can be no prospect 
of redress from this quarter. The same superiority 
of population which gave tliose three States the 
power of electing the President, has of course also 
given them the majority of the House of Representa- 
tives, and no amendment of the constitution can take 
place without the concurrence of two-thirds of both 
houses. Besides, the principle of election by nume- 
rical majority is fundamental throughout the Union, 
and could not be abrogated without a total violation 
of consistency. It does appear, therefore, that in no 
great distance of time the whole substantial influ- 
ence of the federal government may be wielded by 
three States, and that whenever these choose to com- 


bine, it will be in their power to carry any measure, 
howev^er obnoxious, to the rest of the Union. The 
Senate, it is true, which consists of delegates in 
equal number from each State, would be free from 
this influence, but in any struggle with the more 
popular house, it must of course prove the weaker 
party, and be compelled to yield. 

Those know little of the character of the Ame- 
rican people, who imagine that the great majority 
of the States would tolerate being reduced to the 
condition of political ciphers. Their jealousy of each 
other is very great, and there can be no doubt, that 
should the contingency here contemplated occur, 
it must occasion a total disruption of the bonds of 
union. I believe it is the probability of such an 
event, joined to the apprehension of some interfe- 
rence with the condition of the slave population, 
which makes the people of the Southern States so 
anxious to narrow the power of the general govern- 
ment. At all events, it will be singular indeed if the 
seeds of civil broil, disseminated in a soil so admi- 
rably fitted to bring them to maturity, should not 


eventually yield an abundant harvest of animosity 
and dissension * 

After much — I hope impartial and certainly 
patient — observation, it does appear to me, that uni- 
versal suffrage is the rock on which American free- 
dom is most likely to suffer shipwreck. The intrinsic 
evils of the system are very great, and its adoption 
in the United States was the more monstrous, be- 
cause a qualification in property is there not only a 
test of intelligence, but of moral character. The man 
must either be idle or profligate, or more probably 
both, who does not, in a country where labour is so 
highly rewarded, obtain a qualification of some sort. 
He is evidently unworthy of the right of suffrage, 
and by every wise legislature will be debarred from 

* The opinions I have ventured to express on this subject are by 
no means singular. They are those of a large portion of the American 
people. Chancellor Kent — the ablest constitutional lawyer of his 
country — says, in his Commentaries, " If ever the tranquillity of this 
nation is to he disturbed, and its peace jeopardised hij a struggle for 
power among themselves, it will be upon this very subject of the choice of a 
President. It is the question that is eventually to attest the goodness and 
try the strength of the constitution." And many other authorities 
might be adduced, were the subject one on which viere authority 
could have much weight. 


its exercise. In densely peopled countries the test of 
property in reference to moral qualities is fallible, 
— perhaps too fallible to be relied on with much 
confidence. In the United States it is unerring, or 
at least the possible exceptions are so few, and must 
arise from circumstances so peculiar, that it is 
altogether unnecessary they should find any place 
in the calculations of a statesman. But American 
legislators have thought proper to cast away this 
inestimable advantage. Seeing no immediate dan- 
ger in the utmost extent of suffrage, they were 
content to remain blind to the future. They took 
every precaution that the rights of the poor man 
should not be encroached on by the rich, but never 
seem to have contemplated the possibility that the 
rights of the latter might be violated by the former. 
American protection, like Irish reciprocity, was all 
on one side. It was withheld where most needed ; 
it was profusely lavished where there was no risk of 
danger. They put a sword in the hand of one com- 
batant, and took the shield from the arm of the 

The leader who gave the first and most powerful 


impulse to the democratic tendencies of the constitu- 
tion was unquestionably Jefferson. His countrymen 
call him great, but in truth he was great only when 
compared with those by whom he was surrounded. 
In brilliance and activity of intellect he was inferior 
to Hamilton ; but Hamilton in heart and mind was 
an aristocrat, and too honourable and too proud to 
shape his political course to catch the flitting gales 
of popular favour. Death, fortunately for Jefferson, 
removed the only rival, by whom his reputation 
coul dhave been eclipsed, or his political principles 
successfully opposed. Adams he encountered and 
overthrew. Federalism, never calculated to secure 
popular favour, dwindled on, till in the termination 
of the late war it received its death-blow, and the 
democratic party remained undisputed lords of the 

We seek in vain in the writings of Jefferson for 
indications of original or profound thought. When 
in France, he had been captivated by that shallow 
philosophy of which Diderot and Condorcet were 
the apostles, and he returned to America, the zeal- 
ous partisan of opinions, which no subsequent ex- 


perience could induce him to relinquish or modify. 
During by far the greater portion of his life, the in- 
tellect of Jefferson remained stationary. Time passed 
on ; generations were gathered to their fathers ; the 
dawn of liberty on the continent of Europe had ter- 
minated in a bloody sunset ; but the shadow on the 
dial of his mind remained unmoved. In his corre- 
spondence we find him to the very last, complacently 
putting forth the stale and flimsy dogmas, which, 
when backed by the guillotine, had passed for unan- 
swerable in the Jacobin coteries of the Revolution. 

The mind of Jefferson was essentially unpoetical. 
In his whole works there is no trace discoverable of 
imaginative power. His benevolence was rather to- 
pical than expansive. It reached France, but never 
ventured across the channel. Had Napoleon invaded 
England, the heart and prayers of Jefferson would 
have followed him in the enterprise. He would have 
gloated over her fallen palaces, her conflagrated 
cities, her desolate fields. Her blood, her sufferings, 
her tears, the glorious memory of her past achieve- 
ments, would in him have excited no feeling of com- 
passionate regret. Jefferson had little enthusiasm 


of character. Nor was he rich in those warm cha- 
rities and affections, in which great minds are rarely 
deficient. He has heen truly called a good hater. 
His resentments were not vehement and fiery ehul- 
litions, burning fiercely for a time, and then subsi- 
ding into indifference or dislike. They were cool, 
fiendllke, and ferocious ; unsparing, undying, unap- 
peaseable. The enmities of most men terminate with 
the death of their object. It was the delight of Jef- 
ferson to trample even on the graves of his political 
opponents. The manner in which he speaks of 
Hamilton in his correspondence, and the charges by 
which he vainly attempts to blast his reputation, will 
attach an indelible tarnish to his own memory. He 
never forgave the superior confidence which Wash- 
ington reposed in the wisdom and integrity of Ha- 
milton. The only amiable feature in the whole life 
of Jefferson was his reconciliation with Adams, and 
there the efficient link was community of hatred. 
Both detested Hamilton. 

The moral character of Jefferson was repulsive. 
Continually puling about liberty, equality, and the 
degrading curse of slavery, he brought his own chil- 


dren to the hammer, and made money of his de- 
baucheries. Even at his death, he did not manumit 
his numerous offspring, but left them, soul and body, 
to degradation, and the cart- whip. A daughter of 
Jefferson was sold some years ago, by public auction, 
at New Orleans, and purchased by a society of gen- 
tlemen, who wished to testify, by her liberation, 
their admiration of the statesman, 

" Who dreamt of freedom in a slave's embrace." 

This single line gives more insight to the character 
of the man, than whole volumes of panegyric. It 
will outlive his epitaph, write it who may. 

Jefferson was succeeded by Madison, a mere 
reflex of his political opinions. If he wanted the 
harsher points of Jefferson's character, he wanted 
also its vigour. The system he pursued was indis- 
tinguishable from that of his predecessor, and during 
his Presidency the current of democracy flowed on 
with increased violence and velocity. Munroe came 
next, and becoming at length aware of the prevailing 
tendencies of the constitution, was anxious to steer 
a middle course. He organized a piebald cabinet, 


composed of men of different opinions, and the result 
of their conjunction was a sort of hybrid policy, half 
federalist and half democratic, which gave satisfac- 
tion to no party. 

At the termination of Mr Munroe's second period 
of office, Mr John Quincy Adams became his succes- 
sor, by a sort of electioneering juggle which occa- 
sioned a universal sentiment of disgust. What the 
principles of this statesman were, or are, seems a 
matter not very intelligible to his own countrymen, 
and of course is still less so to a foreigner. All 
that is necessary to be known is, that at the expira- 
tion of four years Mr Quincy Adams was turned 
out, to the great satisfaction of the whole Union, 
and that though he still continues in the healthy 
enjoyment of all corporeal and mental functions, 
there is assuredly no chance that he will ever again 
be promoted to any office of political trust and im- 

General Jackson, the present President, has always 
been an eminent member of the democratic party. 
His accession to office however, united to the expe- 
rience of a long life, is understood to have induced a 


change in some of his opinions, and a modification of 
others. His policy is as moderate as the circum- 
stances of the times will permit. On the Tariff ques- 
tion his opinions are not precisely known, but he 
decidedly opposes the application of the public 
money, under direction of the federal government, 
to projects of internal improvement. 

General Jackson was certainly indebted for his 
present elevation, to the reputation he acquired in 
the successful defence of New Orleans. In truth, I 
believe his popularity is rather military than poli- 
tical, since even those ^ — and they are many — who 
dislike him as a politician, extol him as the first 
general of the age, whose reputation beggars the 
fame of the most celebrated modern strategists. 

It is excusable to smile at this, but scarcely fair 
to visit it with the severity of ridicule. New Orleans, 
— for want of a better, — is the American Waterloo ; 
and while the loss to England occasioned by this 
disaster is a fixed quantity neither to be increased 
nor diminished, why should we object to the display 
of a little harmless vanity, or demand that our suc- 
cessful opponents should measure the extent of their 


achievement rather by our standard than by their 

When talking of American statesmen, I may as 
well detail a few circumstances connected with one, 
who has certainly played a very conspicuous part in 
the politics of his country. I allude to the cele- 
brated Colonel Burr, formerly Vice-President of the 
United States, and who, in 1800, was within a vote 
of becoming President in opposition to Jefferson and 
Adams. It is well known, that strong political 
differences with General Hamilton, embittered by a 
good deal of personal dislike, led to a duel, in which 
Hamilton lost his life. To this misfortune is attri- 
butable the entire ruin of Colonel Burr's prospects 
as a statesman. Hamilton was admired by all par- 
ties, and the voice of lamentation was heard from the 
whole Union on the premature extinction of the 
highest intellect of the country. There arose a gene- 
ral and powerful feeling of indignation against the 
author of this national calamity ; but Burr was not 
a man to shrink from the pelting of any tempest, 
however vehement. He braved its violence, but at 
once knew that his popularity was gone for ever. 



Subsequently lie was concerned in some conspi- 
racy to sieze on part of Mexico, of which he was to 
become sovereign, by the style and title — I suppose 
— of Aaron the First, King or Emperor of the Texas, 
Colonel Burr was likewise accused of treason to 
the commonwealth, in attempting to overthrow the 
constitution by force of arms. But a veil of mys- 
tery hangs around this portion of American history. 
I have certainly read a great deal about it, and left 
off nearly as wise as when I began. A conspiracy 
of some sort did undoubtedly exist. Preparations 
were in progress to collect an armament on the Ohio, 
and there was some rumour of its descending the 
Mississippi and seizing on New Orleans. Some of 
Burr's followers were tried, but — unless my memory 
deceives me— acquitted. At all events, materials 
could not be discovered for the conviction of the 
Great Catiline, whose projects, whether defensible or 
not, were original, and indicative of the fearless 
character of the man. 

His acquittal, however, by two juries, was not 
sufficient to establish his innocence in the opinion of 
his countrymen. He was assailed by hatred and 

VOL. I. 2 E 


execration ; his name was made a by- word for every 
thing that was odious in morals, and unprincipled in 
politics. It was under such circumstances that Burr 
became an exile from his country for several years. 
During that period he visited England, where he 
attracted the jealous observation of the ministry, 
and his correspondence with France being more fre- 
quent than was quite agreeable, and of a cast some- 
what too political, he received a polite invitation 
to quit the country with the least possible delay. 
Colonel Burr now lives in New York, secluded from 
society, where his great talents and extensive pro- 
fessional knowledge, still gain him some employ- 
ment as a consulting lawyer. 

A friend of mine at New York enquired whether 
I should wish an interview with this distinguished 
person. I immediately answered in the affirmative, 
and a note was addressed to Colonel Burr, request- 
ing permission to introduce me. The answer con- 
tained a polite assent, and indicated an hour when 
his avocations would permit his having sufficient 
leisure for the enjoyment of conversation. At the 
time appointed, my friend conveyed me to a house 


in one of the poorer streets of the cit3% The Colonel 
received us on the landing place, with the manners 
of a finished courtier, and led the way to his little 
library, which — judging from the appearance of the 
volumes — was principally furnished with works 
connected with the law. 

In person, Colonel Burr is diminutive, and I 
was much struck with the resemblance he bears to 
the late Mr Percival. His physiognomy is expres- 
sive of strong sagacity. The eye keen, penetrating, 
and deeply set ; the forehead broad and prominent ; 
the mouth small, but disfigured by the ungraceful 
form of the lips; and the other features, though 
certainly not coarse, were irreconcilable with any 
theory of beauty. On the whole, I have rarely seen 
a more remarkable countenance. Its expression was 
highly intellectual, but I imagined I could detect 
the lines of strong passion mingled with those of 
deep thought. The manners of Colonel Burr are 
those of a highly bred gentleman. His powers of 
conversation are very great, and the opinions he 
expresses on many subjects marked by much shrewd- 
ness and originality. 


When in England he had become acquainted with 
many of the Whig leaders, and I found him per- 
fectly versed in every thing connected with our 
national politics. 

It would be an unwarrantable breach of the con- 
fidence of private life, were I to publish any parti- 
culars of the very remarkable conversation I enjoyed 
with this eminent person. I shall, therefore, merely 
state, that having encroached perhaps too long, both 
on the time and patience of Colonel Burr, I bade 
him farewell, with sincere regret that a career of 
public life, which had opened so brilliantly, should 
not have led to a more fortunate termination^ 




On the 8th of January I again bade farewell to 
New York, and embarked on board of a New Bruns- 
wick steamer on my way to Philadelphia. Our course 
lay up the Raritan river, which has nothing inte- 
resting to display in point of scenery, and the morn- 
ing being raw and gusty, the voyage was not parti- 
cularly agreeable. It occupied about four hours, 
and on reaching Brunswick we found a cavalcade 
of nine stage-coaches, drawn up for the accommo- 
dation of the passengers. In these we were des- 
tined to cross the country between the Raritan and 
Delaware, which forms part of the State of New 
Jersey. In theory nothing could be easier than this 
journey. The distance was only twenty-seven miles; 


and in a thoroughfare so much travelled as that be- 
tween the two great cities of the Union, it was at 
least not probable that travellers would be subjected 
to much inconvenience. 

But theory and experience were at variance in 
this case, as in many others. We changed coaches 
at every stage, and twice had the whole baggage of 
the party to be unpacked and reloaded. The road 
was detestable ; the jolting even worse than what I 
had suffered on my journey from Providence to 
Boston. For at least half the distance the coach 
was axle-deep in mud, and once it fairly stuck in a 
rut, and might have continued sticking till dooms- 
day, had the passengers not dismounted to lighten 
the vehicle. I enquired the reason of the disgrace- 
ful neglect of this important line of communication, 
and was answered, that as it was intended at some 
future period to have a railway, it would be meie 
folly to go to any expense in repairing it. Thus are 
this intelligent people content to sacrifice a great 
present benefit, to a mere speculative, and probably 
remote contingency. 


The scenery through which our route lay was 
devoid of beauty, and the soil wretchedly poor. The 
whole country had evidently at one time been under 
cultivation, but in much of it the plough had long 
ceased from labour, and the forest had already 
resumed its ancient rights. The weather added to 
the bleakness of the landscape, and though the coach 
crept on with the velocity of a tortoise, it was not till 
long after dark that we reached Bristol. Here we 
took boat again, and our troubles were at an end. A 
plentiful dinner contributed to beguile the distance, 
and the city clocks were in the act of chiming ten as 
we landed on the quay of Philadelphia. 

Having procured a coach, I drove to Head's hotel, 
which had been recommended to me as one of the 
best houses in the Union. Here I could only procure 
a small and nasty bedroom, lighted by a few panes 
of glass fixed in the wall, some eight or ten feet 
from the floor. On the following morning, there- 
fore, I removed to the United States Hotel, where I 
found the accommodation excellent. My letters of 
introduction were then despatched, with the result 


which my experience of American kindness had led 
me to anticipate. 

Philadelphia stands on an isthmus ahout two 
miles wide, between the Delaware and the Schuyl- 
kill. Below the city, both rivers are navigable for 
vessels of any class, but the severity of the winter 
climate generally causes an interruption to the com- 
munication with the sea, of considerable duration. 
As a great seat of commerce the advantage is alto- 
gether on the side of New York. Philadelphia has 
but trifling extent of river communication with the 
interior. The Delaware is navigable only for about 
thirty miles above the city, and the Schuylkill is too 
full of shoals and rapids to be practicable for any 
thing but small craft. To remedy this inconvenience 
there are several canals, and others are in progress, 
which must contribute largely to the prosperity of 
the State. 

There is nothing striking in the appearance of 
Philadelphia when seen from the river. It stands on 
a flat surface, and presents no single object of beauty 
or grandeur to arrest the attention. Spires may be 
monsters in architecture, but they are beautiful 


monsters, and the eye feels a sad want of them, as 
it wanders over the unvaried extent of dull uniform 
building presented by Philadelphia. When one en- 
ters the city the scene is certainly improved, but not 
much. The streets are rather respectable than hand- 
some, but there is everywhere so much appearance 
of real comfort, that the traveller is at first delighted 
with this Quaker paradise. He looks from the car- 
riage windows prepared to see every thing couleur de 
rose. The vehicle rolls on; he praises the clean- 
ness and neatness of the houses, and every street 
that presents itself seems an exact copy of those 
which he has left behind. In short, before he has 
got through half the city, he feels an unusual ten- 
dency to relaxation about the region of the mouth, 
which ultimately terminates in a silent but prolong- 
ed yawn. 

Philadelphia is mediocrity personified in brick 
and mortar. It is a city laid down by square and 
rule, a sort of habitable problem,— a mathematical 
infringement on the rights of individual eccentri- 
city,— a rigid and prosaic despotism of right angles 

VOL. I. 2 F 


and parallelograms. It may emphatically be call- 
ed a comfortable city, that is, the houses average 
better than in any other with which I am acquaint- 
ed. You here see no miserable and filthy streets, 
the refuge of squalid poverty, forming a contrast to 
the splendour of squares and crescents. No Dutch 
town can be cleaner, and the marble stairs and win- 
dow sills of the better houses, give an agreeable re- 
lief to the red brick of which they are constructed. 

The public buildings are certainly superior to 
any I have yet seen in America. Some of the 
churches are handsome, and the United States Bank, 
with its marble portico of Grecian Doric, gives evi- 
dence, I trust, of an improving taste. I confess, 
however, that my hopes on this matter are not very 
strong. Even persons of information are evidently 
unable to appreciate the true merit of the building 
or the architect, and connect ridicule with both by 
declaring the former to be " the finest building in 
the world !" Is a poor traveller in the United States, 
when continually beset by such temptation, to be 
held utterly inexcusable, if he sometimes venture to 
indulge in a sneer ? 


The Bank of Pennsylvania is another structure 
entitled to applause. Its front presents a flight of 
steps sustaining an Ionic portico of six columns, 
with an entablature and pediment. The banking- 
house of Mr Girard, — the Coutts of the Union, — is 
likewise handsome. Like the two buildings I have 
already mentioned its whole front is of marble, but in 
taste it is far less chaste, and presents more faults 
than I have time or inclination to enumerate. There 
are likewise two buildings of some pretension, in 
the Gothic style. Both are contemptible. 

The State House, from which issued the declara- 
tion of American independence, is yet standing. It 
is built of brick, and consists of a centre and two 
wings, without ornament of any sort. There is 
something appropriate, and even imposing in its 
very plainness. Above is a small cupola with a 
clock, which at night is illuminated by gas. 

The Philadelphians, however, pride themselves 
far more on their waterworks than on their State 
House. Their lo Pceans on account of the former, 
are loud and unceasing, and I must say, the annoy- 
ance which these occasion to a traveller, is very con- 


siderable. A dozen times a-day was I asked whether I 
had seen the waterworks, and on my answering in 
the negative, I was told that I positively must visit 
them ; that they were unrivalled in the world ; that 
no people but the Americans could have executed 
such works, and by implication, that no one but an 
Englishman, meanly jealous of American superiority, 
would omit an opportunity of admiring their unri- 
valled mechanism. 

There is no accounting for the eccentricities of 
human character. I had not heard these circum- 
stances repeated above fifty times, ere I began to 
run restive, and determined not to visit the water- 
works at all. To this resolution I adhered, in 
spite of all annoyance, with a pertinacity worthy of 
a better cause. Of the waterworks of Philadelphia, 
therefore, I know nothing, and any reader, particu- 
larly solicitous to become acquainted with the prin- 
ciple of this remarkable piece of machinery, must 
consult the pages of other travellers. 

I had the honour of being present at an annual 
celebration of the American Philosophical Society. 
About a hundred members sat down to a most ex- 


cellent supper, and the wine and punch were equally- 
unimpeachable. The President, Mr Du Ponceau, 
then made a speech, in which he gave a very inte- 
resting account of the rise and progress of the So- 
ciety to its present flourishing condition. It was 
originally established by Franklin, and a few of his 
fellow-tradesmen, who met in some back-room of an 
obscure tavern, and having supped on bread and 
cheese, enjoyed the feast of reason over a pot of 
London Particular. The Society now includes in its 
members all that America can boast of eminence 
in literature or science. 

On the following evening, I passed an hour or two 
very agreeably at one of a series of meetings, which 
are called " Wistar Parties," from the name of the 
gentleman at whose house they were first held. 
Their effect and influence on society must be very 
salutary. These parties bring together men of differ- 
ent classes and pursuits, and promote the free inter- 
change of opinion, always useful for the correction 
of prejudice. Such intercourse, too, prevents the 
narrowness of thought, and exaggerated estimate of 
the value of our own peculiar acquirements, which 


devotion to one exclusive object is apt to engender 
in those who do not mix freely with the world. 

These meetings are held by rotation at the houses 
of the different members. The conversation is gene- 
rally literary or scientific, and as the party is usually 
very large, it can be varied at pleasure. Philoso- 
phers eat like other men, and the precaution of an 
excellent supper is by no means found to be super- 
fluous. It acts too as a gentle emollient on the acri- 
mony of debate. No man can say a harsh thing 
with his mouth full of turkey, and disputants forget 
their differences in unity of enjoyment. 

At these parties I met several ingenious men of a 
class something below that of the ordinary members. 
When an operative mechanic attracts notice by his 
zeal for improvement in any branch of science, he 
is almost uniformly invited to the Wistar meetings. 
The advantage of this policy is obviously very 
great. A modest and deserving man is brought into 
notice. His errors are corrected, his ardour is sti- 
mulated, his taste improved. A healthy connexion 
is kept up between the different classes of society, 
and the feeling of mutual sympathy is duly cherish- 


ed. During my stay in Philadelpliia I was present 
at several of these Wistar meetings, and always 
returned from them with increased conviction of 
their beneficial tendency. 

Most of the great American cities have a peculiar 
character, — a sort of civic idiosyncracy, which dis- 
tinguishes their population even to the eye of an 
unpractised observer. There is no mistaking that 
of Philadelphia ; it is Quaker all over. All things, 
animate and inanimate, seem influenced by a spirit of 
quietism as pervading as the atmosphere. The man- 
ners of the higher orders are somewhat more reserv^ed 
than in other parts of the Union, and I must say 
that all ranks are particularly free from the besetting 
sin of curiosity. Fortunately for travellers, it is not 
here considered essential that they should disclose 
every circumstance connected with their past life 
and opinions. 

Philadelphia is/>ar excellence a city of mediocrity. 
Its character is republican not democratic. One can 
read the politics of its inhabitants in the very aspect 
of the streets. A coarse and vulgar demagogue 
would have no chance among a people so palpably 


observant of llie proprieties, botli moral and political. 
The PLiladelphians are no traffickers in extremes of 
any sort, and were I to form my opinion of a govern- 
ment, from tlie impression made by its policy on 
some particular district of the Union, I should cer- 
tainly take this enlightened and respectable city as 
the guide and standard of my creed. 

The chief defect of Philadelphia is want of variety. 
It is just such a city as a young lady would cut out 
of a thread paper, — 

Street answers street, each alley has a brother, 
And half the city just reflects the other. 

Something is certainly wanted to relieve that un- 
broken uniformity, which tires the eye and stupifies 
the imagination. One would give the world for 
something to admire or to condemn, and would abso- 
lutely rejoice, for the mere sake of variety, to en- 
counter a row of log huts, or to get immersed in a 
congress of dark and picturesque closes, such as de- 
light all travellers — without noses — in the old town 
of Edinburgh. 

The Utilitarian principle is observed, even in 


the nomenclature of the streets. Those running 
in one direction are denoted by the name of some 
particular tree, — such as vine, cedar, chestnut, spruce, 
&c. The cross-streets are distinguished by numbers, 
so that a stranger has no difficulty in finding his 
way, since the name of the street indicates its situa- 
tion. Market Street is the great thoroughfare of the 
city, and stretches from one river to the other, an 
extent of several miles. The streets are generally 
skirted by rows of Lombardy poplars, for what rea- 
son I know not. They certainly give no shade, and 
possess no beauty. 

Notwithstanding the attractions of Philadelphia, 
it was not my intention to have remained there 
longer than a week, but while engaged in prepara- 
tion for departure, a deep fall of snow came on, and 
the communications of the city were at once cut off. 
A week passed without intelligence from the north- 
ward, and even the southern mails were several days 
in arrear. The snow lay deep on the streets, and 
wheeled carriages were of necessity exchanged for 
sledges, or, as they are usually called, sleighs. Of 
course, it would have been absurd for a traveller. 


with no motive for expedition, to commence a jour- 
ney under sucli circumstances, and I determined to 
prolong my stay until the roads should be reported 
in such condition as to threaten no risk of detention 
in my route to Baltimore. 

During this inter A^al I visited the Penitentiary. 
It stands about two miles from the city, but owing 
to the depth of snow, the sleigh could not approach 
within a considerable distance of the building, and 
the pedestrian part of the excursion presented much 
difficulty. A thin icy crust had formed over the 
surface of the snow, which often gave way beneath 
the foot, and more than once I was immersed to the 

I did, however, reach the Penitentiary at last. It 
is a square granite building of great extent, with a 
tower at each angle, and the walls enclose a space of 
ten acres. In the centre of the area stands an ob- 
servatory, from which it is intended that seven cor- 
ridors shall radiate, but three only have been yet 
completed. The cells are arranged on either side of 
these corridors, with which they communicate by a 
square aperture, which may be opened at pleasure 


from without. There is likewise a small eye-hole, 
commanding a complete view of the cell, and at- 
tached to each is a walled court, in which the pri- 
soner may take exercise. The only entrance to the 
cells lies through these court-yards. 

The system pursued in this institution is entirely 
different from that which, in a former part of this 
volume, I have had occasion to describe. No punish- 
ment is permitted within its walls but that of solitary 
confinement. Nothing is left to the discretion of the 
gaoler, or his assistants, and all risk of abuse is thus 
obviated. I cannot but consider this as an inesti- 
mable advantage. If discretionary power be con- 
fessedly dangerous when exercised by a judge in 
open court, under the strong check of public opinion, 
what are we to say of it when confided to a gaoler, 
and exercised without responsibility of any sort, 
amid the secrecy of his prisonhouse ? 

The warder of the establishment struck me as a 
person of much enthusiasm and benevolence. He 
evidently took pleasure in affording every informa> 
tion in regard to the practical operation of the sys- 
tem, though its introduction is too recent to afford 


room for any conclusive appeal to experience. The 
punishment originally contemplated in this prison 
was solitary confinement, unmitigated by labour. All 
experience is against the practicability of combining 
this system with the continuance of bodily health 
and mental sanity in the prisoners. It was therefore 
wisely given up, and of that adopted in its stead I 
shall now offer a few details. 

A convict, on arriving at the prison, is blind- 
folded, and conveyed to a room, where his hair is 
cut, and after a complete personal ablution, he is led 
with the same precaution, to the cell destined for his 
reception. He is thus kept in ignorance of the 
localities of the prison, and the chances of escape 
are diminished. Each cell is provided with an iron 
bedstead, a comfortable mattrass, two blankets, and 
a pillow. There is likewise a water-cock and tin 
mug, so that the prisoner may supply himself ad 
libitum with the pure element. The cells are heated 
by pipes, and though I visited the prison in the very 
coldest weather, the temperature was very pleasant. 

When a prisoner is first received, he is uniformly 
left to enjoy the full privilege of solitary idleness ; 


but in the coarse of a short time he generally makes 
application for work, and for a Bible. Each man 
is permitted to select his own trade, and those who 
understand none when they enter the prison are 
taught one. The allowance of food is good and plen- 
tiful, but those who refuse to work, are kept on 
a reduced allowance. Their number, however, is 
exceedingly small, and the great majority consider 
even the temporary withdrawal of work as a severe 

Having taken up rather strong opinions with re- 
gard to the injurious influence of solitary confine- 
ment, I was rather anxious to have an opportunity 
of conversing with a few of the prisoners. To this 
no objection was made, and I was accordingly usher- 
ed into the cell of a black shoemaker, convicted of 
theft, whom I found very comfortably seated at his 
trade. I asked him many questions, which he an- 
swered with great cheerfulness. He had been con- 
fined — I think — for eighteen months, yet this long 
period of separation from his fellow-creatures had 
occasioned no derangement of his functions, bodil}^ 
or mental. I likewise conversed with two other 


prisoners, and tlie result of my observations cer- 
tainly was the conviction, tbat solitary confinement, 
when associated with labour, is by no means liable 
to the objections which I have often heard urged to 
its adoption as a punishment. I have likewise the 
assurance of the warder, that during his whole expe- 
rience, he has not known a single instance of the 
discipline adopted being found prejudicial to health, 
either of mind or body. 

There is undoubtedly much that is admirable in 
this Penitentiary, but I am not sure that either the 
plan or the practice of the establishment is so perfect 
as to admit of no improvement. In the first place, 
I cannot but think that the Panopticon principle is 
on the whole preferable. Facility of supervision is 
always important, and there is no point in the pre- 
sent prison from which the keeper can command a 
general and complete view, either of the cells or of 
the exercise yards. The central observatory com- 
mands only the corridors. In the second place, it 
strikes me as a defect that there should be no en- 
trance to the cells from the corridors, by which a 
far more ready and convenient access would be ob- 


tained. There is also a defect in the construction 
of the exercise courts, in which it is quite possible 
for the adjoining prisoners to hold conversation. 

There is no chapel attached to this establishment, 
and when divine service is performed, the clergy- 
man takes his station at the head of the corridors ; 
the apertures communicating with the cells are 
thrown open, and his voice I am assured, is dis- 
tinctly audible, even by the most distant prisoner. 
Strange to say, however — and I confess that in a 
state so religious as Pennsylvania, the fact struck me 
with astonishment — morning and evening prayers 
are unknown in the Penitentiary. Surely, it is both 
wholesome and fitting that the days of these suffer- 
ing criminals should be begun and ended by an ap- 
peal to the mercy of that Maker, whose laws they 
have offended. It is true, that divine service is per- 
formed once every Sunday, but this will scarcely be 
held sufficient, either by the moralist who simply 
regards the interest of society in the reformation of 
a criminal, or by him whose philanthropy is connect- 
ed with the higher hopes and motives of religion. 

On the whole, I am inclined to prefer the system 


of solitary confinement to that adopted in the pri- 
sons at Auhurn and Charleston. The former obvi- 
ates all necessity for punishment of any kind, beyond 
that inflicted by the execution of the sentence. 
Whatever be his sufferings, the prisoner has the dis- 
tinct knowledge that they are not arbitrary or extra- 
judicial. Even amidst the solitude of his cell, he feels 
that he is in one sense a free man. He undergoes 
the sentence of the law, but he is not dependent on 
the capricious discretion of those by whom he is 
surrounded. In Charleston each prisoner knows 
himself to be a slave. His punishment is in truth 
unlimited, for its only measure is the conscience of 
his gaoler, an unknown and indeterminate quantity. 
There is nothing humiliating in solitary confine- 
ment. The interests of society are protected by the 
removal of the criminal, while the new circumstances 
in which he is placed are precisely the most favour- 
able to moral improvement. It is the numerous 
temptations of the world, the scope whicli it affbrds 
for the gi'atification of strong passion, that overpower 
the better principles implanted in the heart of the 
most depraved of mankind. Remove these tempta- 


tions, place the criminal in a situation where there 
are no warring influences to mislead his judgment; 
let him receive religious instruction, and be taught 
the nature and extent of his moral obligations, and 
when, after such preparation, he is left to reflection, 
and communion with his own conscience, all that 
human agency can efl'ect, has probably been done 
for his reformation. 

Solitary confinement contributes to all this. It 
throws the mind of the criminal back upon itself. It 
forces him to think who never thought before. It 
removes all objects which can stimulate the evil 
passions of his nature. It restores the prisoner to 
society, if not " a wiser and a better man," at least 
undegraded by a course of servile submission. His 
punishment has been that of a man, not of a brute. 
He has suffered privation, but not indignity. He has 
submitted to the law, and to the law alone, and what- 
ever debasement may still attach to his character, is 
the offspring of his crime, not of its penalty. 

The other system is far less favourable I should 
imagine to moral improvement. The gaoler must 

VOL. I. 2 G 


necessarily appear to the prisoners in the light of an 
arbitrary tyrant. He is an object of fear and hatred. 
His inflictions are accompanied by none of the so- 
lemnities of justice, and they are naturally followed 
by smothered rancour and desire of revenge. Even 
where there is no abuse of authority, it is impossible 
for those subjected to it, to appreciate the motives 
for its rigid exercise. They cannot be supposed to 
discriminate between severity and cruelty. 

All this is unfortunate. The character of the pri- 
soners is rendered callous to shame, while their evil 
passions are in a state of permanent excitement. 
They are taught obedience like spaniels, and by 
the same means. They are forced down to the very 
lowest point of human debasement. Never again 
shall these men know the dignity of self-respect; 
never again can they feel themselves on a level with 
their fellow-men. Human endurance can extend no 
further than they have carried it, and it were well 
that American legislators should remember, that it 
is easy to degrade the freeman, but impossible to 
elevate the slave. 

One great advantage belongs to the Philadelphia 


system. A prisoner on being discharged enters the 
world without danger of recognition, and thus enjoys 
the benefit of starting with a fair character. If his 
confinement has been long, disease and the gibbet 
have probably disposed of the great majority of his 
former companions in crime, and in a country like 
the United States, nothing but honest industry is 
wanting to the attainment of independence. But 
a convict discharged from a prison like those of 
Charleston and Auburn, must continue through life 
a marked man. His face is known to thousands, and 
go where he will — unless he fly altogether from the 
haunts of men — the story of his past life will follow 
him. Excluded from communion with the more 
respectable portion of the community, he will pro- 
bably again seek his associates among the dissolute. 
His former course of crime will then be renewed, and 
all hope of reformation will be at an end for ever. 

It is impossible, however, to praise too highly that 
active benevolence which in America takes so deep 
an interest in the reformation of the objects of 
punishment. In their ameliorations of prison dis- 
cipline, the people of this countiy have unquestion- 


ably taken the lead of Europe. In old established 
communities the progress of improvement is neces- 
sarily slow, and there are difficulties to be overcome 
which are fortunately unknown on this side of the 
Atlantic. Let the Americans, therefore, continue as 
they have begun, to lead the way in this important 
department of practical philanthropy. By doing so, 
they will earn a distinction for their country more 
honourable than could result from the highest emi- 
nence in arts, or achievements in arms. 

Of all the American colleges beyond the limits of 
New England, that of Pennsylvania is perhaps the 
most distinguished. Its medical school is decidedly 
so, and an Esculapian armed with a Philadelphia 
diploma, is held to commit slaughter on his fellow- 
creatures according to the most approved principles 
of modern science. Till within a few years, how- 
ever, the scientific and literary departments of this 
institution had fallen into comparative neglect. But 
a revolution in an American college is an easier 
affair than the introduction of the most trifling 
change in such establishments as Oxford or Cam- 
bridge. The statutes were revised by a board of 


trustees appointed for the purpose. The system 
of education was corrected and enlarged, and men 
of competent talent and acquirements were invited 
to preside over the A^arious departments of instruc- 
tion. A new edifice was erected, and an extensive 
addition made to the former beggarly account of 
philosophical apparatus. The natural consequences 
followed. The number of students was considerably 
increased, and the benefits of the institution were 
augmented not only in magnitude, but in extent of 

In this establishment there is no discretion per- 
mitted in regard to the course of study to be follow- 
ed by the student. Every one is compelled to travel 
in the same track, and to reach the same point, 
whatever may be his future destination in life. It is 
perhaps quite right that such portions of a univer- 
sity course should be considered imperative, as relate 
to the preparatory developement of the intellectual 
powers, but it does appear somewhat absurd to insist 
on cramming every boy with mathematics, chemis- 
try, and natural philosophy. In America, the period 
devoted to education is so short, that there can be 


110 folly greater than that of frittering it away in a 
variety of pursuits, which contribute little to the 
general elevation of the intellect. It is the certain 
result of attempting too much, that nothing will be 
accomplished. With such a system of education the 
standard of acquirement must of necessity be greatly 
lower than in other countries, where excellence in 
some one department constitutes the great object of 
individual ambition. The truth of this position is in 
perfect accordance with the state of knowledge in 
America. In illustration of it, I shall direct the 
attention of the reader to an extract from the report 
of the Board of Trustees of this very University of 
Pennsylvania. Alluding to the prescribed course of 
education, these gentlemen assure the public, that 
" Its object is to communicate a profound and criti- 
cal knowledge of the classics ; an extensive acquaint 
tance with the diffei'ent branches of mathematical 
science, natural philosophy, and chemistry, combined 
with all the varieties of knoidedge comprehended 
within the sphere of moral philosophy , logic, rhetoric, 
metaphysics, and the evidences of Christianity* This 
course of instruction will occupy FO ur years ! " 


Had the number of years to be devoted to the 
acquisition of this vast mass of knowledge haen forty 
instead ofjhur, the promise of the Board of Trustees 
might still have been objectionable on the score of 
hyperbole. In Europe no body of gentlemen con- 
nected with any public seminary durst have ven- 
tured on such a statement. Respect for their own 
character, and the certainty of ridicule, would have 
prevented it. But in America it is different. The 
standard of knowledge being there infinitely lower, 
the Trustees promised nothing more than they might 
reasonably hope to accomplish. On the Western 
shores of the Atlantic, a young man is believed to 
have "a profound and critical knowledge of the 
classics," when he can manage to construe a pass- 
age of Caesar or Virgil, and — by the help of the lexi- 
con — haply of Xenophon or Anacreon. And so with 
the other branches of acquirement. In mathematics, 
it is scarcely meant to be implied that the student 
shall have mastered the works of La Grange or La 
Place ; nor in metaphysics, that he shall even under- 
stand the philosophy of Kant or Cousin, but simply 
that he shall have acquired enough to constitute, in 


the eyes of the American public, " an extensive 
acquaintance with the different branches of mathe- 
matical science, combined with all the varieties of 
knowledge comprehended within the sphere of moral 
philosophy, logic, rhetoric, and metaphysics." 

It thus appears that what in one country would 
be nothing better than impudent quackery, becomes 
the language of sober truth in another. The same 
terms carry different meanings on different sides of 
the water, and the cause of the discrepancy is too 
obvious to be mistaken. Having alluded to this sub- 
ject, I would willingly be permitted to offer a few 
observations on the interesting question. How far 
the condition of society in the United States, and 
the influence of its institutions are favourable, or 
otherwise, to the cultivation of philosophy and the 
liigher literature ? 

The termination of the Revolutionary war left the 
United States with a population graduating in civil- 
isation from slaves to planters. The scale went low 
enough, but unfortunately not very high. The great 
mass of the white population, especially in the 
Northern States, were by no means deficient in such 


education as was suited to their circumstances. In 
a country to whicli abject poverty was happily a 
stranger, there existed few obstacles to the general 
diffusion of elementary instruction. But between 
the amount of acquirement of the richer and the 
poorer orders, little disparity existed. Where the 
necessity of labour was imposed on all, it was not 
probable that any demand should exist for learning 
not immediately connected with the business of life. 
To the grower of indigo or tobacco ; to the feller of 
timber, or the retailer of cutlery and dry goods, 
the refinements of literature were necessarily un- 
known. In her whole population America did not 
number a single scholar, in the higher acceptation 
of the term, and had every book in her whole terri- 
tory been contributed to form a national library, it 
would not have afforded the materials from which 
a scholar could be framed. 

It is true, that in several of the States there existed 
colleges, but these were little better than schools 
without the necessary discipline ; and had their pre- 
tensions been greater, it is very certain that such poor 

VOL. I. 2 H 


and distant establishments could offer no inducement 
to foreigners of high acquirement to exchange " the 
ampler ether, the diviner air," of their native uni- 
versities, for the atmosphere of Yale or Harvard. 
At all events, the Americans had no desire to draw 
our men of letters from their learned retreats. In 
the condition of society I have described, it was im- 
possible that learning should engross any portion 
of the public favour. Even to the present day, the 
value of education in the United States is estimated, 
not by its result on the mind of the student, in 
strengthening his faculties, purifying his taste, and 
enlarging and elevating the sphere of thought and 
consciousness, hut hy the amount of available knoiV' 
ledge which it enables him to bring to the common busi- 
ness of life. 

The consequences of this error, when participated 
in by a whole nation, have been most pernicious. It 
has unquestionably contributed to perpetuate the 
very ignorance in which it originated. It has done 
its part, in connexion with other causes, in depriving 
the United States of the most enduring source of 


national greatness. Nor can we hope that the evil 
will be removed, until the vulgar and unworthy 
sophistry which has imposed on the judgment, even 
of the most intelligent Americans, shall cease to in- 
fluence some wiser and unborn generation. 

The education of the clergy differed in little from 
that of laymen. Of theological learning there was 
none, nor did there exist the means of acquiring it. 
It is probable, that within the limits of the United 
States, there was not to be found a single copy of the 
works of the Fathers. But this mattered not. Pro- 
testantism is never very amenable to authority, and 
least of all when combined with democracy. Neither 
the pastors nor their flocks were inclined to attach 
much value to primitive authority, and from the solid 
rock of the Scriptures, each man was pleased to hevr 
out his own religion, in such form and proportions 
as were suited to the measure of his taste and know- 
ledge. It was considered enough that the clergy could 
read the Bible in their vernacular tongue, and ex- 
pound its doctrines to the satisfaction of a congrega- 
tion, not more learned than themselves. To the pre- 
sent day, in one only of the colleges has any provision 



been' made for cleBieal education. Many of the reli- 
^ous sects, however, have established theological 
academies, in which candidates for the Ministry 
may, doubtless, acquire such accomplishment as is 
deemed necessary for the satisfactory discharge of 
their high function.* 

In short, the state of American society is such as 
to afford no leisure for any thing so unmarketable as 
abstract knowledge. For the pursuit of such studies, 
it is necessary that the proficient should " fit au- 
dience find though few." He must be able to calcu- 

* The American Almanac for 1831 contains a list of all the theo- 
logical establishments in the United States, with the number of stu- 
dents at each seminary, and of the volumes contained in its library. 
According to this document, the whole number of theological stu- 
dents is 657. The combined aggregate of volumes in possession of 
all the institutions is 43,450. The best furnished library in the list 
is that of the theological department of Yale College, which con- 
tains 8000 volumes. None of the others approach nearly to this 
amount. The institution of New Hampton possesses only 100 
volumes, and is attended by fourteen students. Calculating each 
book to consist, on the average, of three volumes, the New Hampton 
library contains thirtij-three works on theology. But this is not all. 
Seven of these establishments possess no libraries at all, so that the 
earning of the students must come by inspiration. Until the year 
1808, no seminaries for religious instruction appear to have existed 
in the United States. One was founded in that year, another in 
1612, but the great majority are of far more recent origin. 


<> , 

late on sympathy at least, if notencouragementj 
and assuredly lie would find neither jn the IJnited 

Whatever were the defects of Jefferson, he seems 
to have been impressed with a deep consciousness of 
the deficiencies of his countrymen. He saw that the 
elements of knowledge were diffused every where, 
but that all its higher fruits were wanting. He 
endeavoured, not only to rouse his countrymen to 
a sense of their intellectual condition, but to pro- 
vide the means by which it might be improved. 
With this view he founded a university in his 
native State, and his last worldly anxieties were 
devoted to its advancement. Jefferson felt strongly, 
that while philosophy and literature were excluded 
from the fair objects of professional ambition, and 
the United States continued to be dependent for 
all advances in knowledge on importations from 
Europe, she was wanting in the noblest element 
of national greatness. Though the commerce of 
mind be regulated by loftier principles than more 
vulgar traffic, it should consist, unquestionably, of 
exchange of some kind. To receive, and not to give. 


is to subsist on charity ; to be a mute and changeling 
in the great family of nations. 

The obstacles to success, however, were too great 
for the powers of Jefferson to overcome. In a com- 
munity where the gi'adations of opulence constitute 
the great distinction between man and man, the 
pursuits which lead most readily to its attainment 
Avill certainly engross the whole volume of national 
talent. In England there are A^arious coexistent 
aristocracies which act as mutual correctives, and 
by multiplying the objects of ambition, give am- 
plitude and diffusion to its efforts. In America there 
exists but one, and the impulse it awakens is, of 
course, violent in proportion to its concentration. 
Jefferson, therefore, failed in this great object, to- 
wards the accomplishment of which his anxious 
efforts were directed. As a politician, he exercised 
a far greater influence over the national mind than 
any other statesman his country has produced. But 
in his endeavours to direct the intellectual impulses 
of his countrymen towards loftier objects, the very 
structure of society presented an insuperable barrier 
to success. 


I am aware, it will be urged, that the state of 
things I have described is merely transient, and that 
when population shall become more dense, and in- 
creased competition shall render commerce and agri- 
culture less lucrative, the pursuits of science and 
literature will engross their due portion of the 
national talent. I hope it may be so, but yet it can- 
not be disguised, that there hitherto has been no 
visible approximation towards such a condition of 
society. In the present generation of Americans, I 
can detect no symptom of improving taste, or in- 
creasing elevation of intellect. On the contrary, 
the fact has been irresistibly forced on my convic- 
tion, that they are altogether inferior to those, whose 
place, in the course of nature, they are soon destined 
to occupy. Compared with their fathers, I have no 
hesitation in pronouncing the younger portion of the 
richer classes to be less liberal, less enlightened, less 
observant of the proprieties of life, and certainly far 
less pleasing in manner and deportment. 

In England every new generation starts forward 
into life with advantages far superior to its prede- 
cessor. Each successive crop— if I may so write — 


of legislators, is marked by increase of knowledge 
and enlargement of thought. The standard of 
acquirement necessary to attain distinction in public 
life, is now confessedly higher than it was thirty 
years ago. The intellectual currency of the country, 
instead of being depreciated, has advanced in value, 
while the issue has been prodigiously enlarged. 
True, there are no giants in our days, but this may 
be in part at least accounted for, by a general in- 
crease of stature in the people. We have gained at 
least an inch upon our fathers, and have the gratify- 
ing prospect of appearing diminutive when compared 
with our children. 

But if this be so in America, 1 confess my obser- 
vation is at fault. I can discern no prospect of her 
soon becoming a mental benefactor to the Avorld. 
Elementary instruction, it is true, has generally kept 
pace with the rapid progress of population; but 
while the steps of youth are studiously directed to 
the base of the mountain of knowledge, no facilities 
have been provided for scaling its summit. There 
is at this moment nothing in the United States wor- 
thy of the name of a library. Not only is there an 



entire absence of learning, in the higher sense of the 
term, but an absolute want of the material from which 
alone learning can be extracted. At present an 
American might study every book within the limits 
of the Union, and still be regarded in many parts of 
Europe— especially in Germany— as a man compa- 
ratively ignorant. And why does a great nation thus 
voluntarily continue in a state of intellectual destitu- 
tion so anomalous and humiliating ? There are libra- 
ries to be sold in Europe. Books might be imported 
in millions. Is it poverty, or is it ignorance of their 
value, that withholds America from the purchase?* 
I should be most happy to believe the former. 

In one point of view at least, the strong— and I 
fear not to say, the insuperable prejudice against the 

* The value of books imported from Europe during the year 1829- 
30 for public institutions, amounted only to 10,829 dollars ! Even of 
this wretched sum, I am assured the greater part was expended in 
works strictly new. Of the old treasures of learning, America 
seems content to remain destitute. 

In regard to science, it is a fact scarcely credible, that the second 
maritime power in the world does not at the present moment possess 
a single astronomical observatory, and is dependent on France and 
England for the calculations of an ephemeris by which her ships may 
be enablel in tolerable safety to navigate the ocean ! 


claims of primogeniture, is unfavourable to national 
advancement. It must continue to prevent any large 
accumulations of individual wealth, and tlie forma- 
tion of a class which might afford encouragement to 
those branches of science and literature, which can- 
not be expected from their very nature to become 
generally popular. Nor is it likely that the impedi- 
ments to which I have alluded, will be at all dimi- 
nished by the character of the government, on which 
I shall hazard a few observations. 

When we speak of a government being popular 
or otherwise, we mean that it is more or less influ- 
enced by the prevailing currents of opinion and 
feeling in those subjected to its action. A highly 
popular government, therefore, can neither be in 
advance of the average intelligence of a people, nor 
can it lag behind it. It is, and must be, the mere 
reflex of the public mind in all its strength and 
weakness ; the representative not only of its high- 
er qualities and virtues, but of all the errors, follies, 
passions, prejudices, and ignorances by which it is 

It is in vain, therefore, to expect from such a 


government any separate and independent action. 
It cannot react upon, it is merely co-operative with, 
the people. It embodies no self-existent or coun- 
tervailing influence. It is only when it ceases to be 
expressly representative, and stands on a firmer 
basis than mere popular favour, that a government 
can acquire a positive and determinate character, 
and be recognised as an influence distinct from that 
of national opinion. 

Neither in the American legislative or executive, 
is there any thing of this latter character discernible. 
The institutions of the United States afford the 
purest specimen the world has yet seen, of a repre- 
sentative government ; of an executive, whose duties 
are those of mere passive agency ; of a legislative, 
which serves but as the vocal organ of the sole and 
real dictator, the people. Into whatever speculations, 
therefore, we may be induced to enter, either with 
regard to the present condition or further prospects 
of the United States, it would be mere folly to attri- 
bute influence of any kind to a government, which, 
in truth, is nothing more than a mere recipient of 
popular impulse. 


To an American of talent, there exist no objects 
to stimulate political ambition, save the higher 
offices of the federal government, or of the indivi- 
dual States. The latter, indeed, are chiefly valued 
for the increased facilities they afford for the attain- 
ment of the former ; but to either, the only passport 
is popular favour. Acquirements of any sort, there- 
fore, which the great mass of the people do not 
value, or are incapable of appreciating, are of no 
practical advantage, for they bring with them nei- 
ther fame, nor more substantial reward. But tliis 
is understating the case. Such knowledge, if dis- 
played at all, would not merely be a dead letter in 
the qualifications of a candidate for political power, 
it would oppose a decided obstacle to his success. 
The sovereign people in America are given to be 
somewhat intolerant of acquirement, the immediate 
utility of which they cannot appreciate, but which 
they do feel has imparted something of mental supe- 
riority to its possessor. This is particularly the case 
with regard to literary accomplishment. The cry 
of the people is for " equal and universal education ;" 
and attainments which circumstances have placed 


beyond their own reach, they would willingly dis- 
countenance in others. 

It is true, indeed, that with regard to mere pro- 
fessional acquirements, a different feeling prevails. 
The people have no objection to a clever surgeon or 
a learned physician, because they profit by their 
skill. An ingenious mechanic they respect. There 
is a fair field for a chemist or engineer. But in 
regard to literature, they can discover no practical 
benefit of which it is productive. In their eyes it 
is a mere appanage of aristocracy, and whatever 
mental superiority it is felt to confer, is at the ex- 
pense of the self-esteem of less educated men. I have 
myself heard in Congress the imputation of scholar- 
ship bandied as a reproach; and if the epithet of 
'' literary gentleman" may be considered as malig- 
nant, as it did sometimes appear to be gratuitous, 
there assuredly existed ample apology for the indig- 
nant feeling it appeared to excite. The truth I believe 
is, that in their political representatives, the people 
demand just so much knowledge and accomplishment 
as they conceive to be practically available for the 
promotion of their own interejts. This, m their 


opinion, is enough. More were but to gild refined 
gold, and paint the lily, operations which could add 
nothing to the value of the metal, or the fragrance 
of the flower. 

The consequence of all this has been, that the 
standard of judgment, in regard to public men, is de- 
cidedly lower in the United States than in most 
countries of Europe. It is perhaps natural, that 
the demand for political accomplishment should not 
precede its necessity, and I am far from wishing 
to assert, that American statesmen have not been 
hitherto found adequate to all the wants of the com- 
monwealth. But if it be the great object of enlight- 
ened institutions to encourage the development of the 
highest faculties, and, generally, to raise man in the 
scale of intellectual being ; if knowledge be confess- 
edly power, and freedom from prejudice a nobler 
enfranchisement than mere physical liberty, then 
I fear that, in reference to this great and ultimate 
function, those of the United States will be found 
wanting. I am far from arguing, that science and 
literature should be indebted for their promotion to 
a system of direct encouragement. Such policy is al- 


ways dubious, and lias rarely proved successful. 
But I certainly regard as one most important stand- 
ard of excellence in a government, the degree in 
which, hy its very constitution, it tends to call into ac- 
tion the higher powers and qualities of the human 
mind. It is a poor policy, which, in matters of in- 
tellect, looks not beyond the necessities of the pre- 
sent hour. There is no economy so shortsighted, 
as that which would limit the expenditure of mind, 
and assuredly the condition of society cannot be de- 
sirable, in which great qualities of every sort do not 
find efficient excitement and ample field for display. 

How far the influences, which have hitherto pre- 
vented the intellectual advancement of the Ameri- 
cans, may hereafter be counteracted by others more 
favourable to the cultivation of learning, I presume 
not to predict. There is certainly no deficiency of 
talent in the United States ; no deficiency of men, 
stored even to abundance with knowledge, practi- 
cally applicable to the palpable and grosser wants of 
their countrymen. But of those higher branches of 
acquirement, which profess not to minister to mere 


vulgar necessities, or to enlarge tlie sphere of physi- 
cal enjoyment, and of which the only result is the 
elevation of the intellect, I fear it must be acknow- 
ledged she has not yet been taught even to appreciate 
the value. 




The United States' hotel, where I had taken up 
my abode, was a favourite resort of American naval 
officers. An opportunity was thus afforded me, of 
forming acquaintance with several, to whom I was 
indebted for many kind and most obliging attentions. 
It must be confessed, that these republicans have 
carried with them their full share of " Old Albion's 
spirit of the sea," for better sailors, in the best and 
highest acceptation of the term, I do not believe the 
world can produce. During the course of my tour, 
I had a good deal of intercourse with the members 
of this profession ; and I must say, that in an officer 
of the United States' navy, I have uniformly found, 
not only a well-informed gentleman, but a person 


2 I 


on whose kindness and good offices to a stranger, I 
might with confidence rely. They betray nothing 
of that silly spirit of bluster and bravado, so preva- 
lent among other classes of their countrymen ; and 
even in conversing on the events of the late war, 
they spoke of their successes in a tone of modesty 
which tended to raise even the high impression I had 
already received of their gallantry. 

In company with one of these gentlemen I visited 
the Navy Yard, and went over a splendid line-of- 
battle ship, the Pennsylvania. She is destined to 
carry a hundred and forty- four guns; and is, I 
believe, the largest ship in the world. I likewise* 
inspected a magnificent frigate called the Raritan. 
Both of these vessels are on the stocks, but I was 
assured that a couple of months would suffice at any 
time to make them ready for sea. They are com- 
pletely covered in from the weather ; and every 
aperture of the wood is carefully filled with, sea-salt 
to prevent decay. Great faith is placed in the effi- 
cacy of this preservative. 

Messrs Carey and Lea are the chief booksellers 
of Philadelphia, and, I believe, of the Union, Their 


establishment is very extensive, and they are evi- 
dently men of much sagacity and enterprise. The 
principal part of their business consists in issuing 
reprints of English works, which, either from 
their merit or their notoriety, may be expected to 
have a considerable circulation on this side of tLe 
water. Of original publications the number is com- 
paratively small ; though, I am told, of late years it 
has considerably increased. 

The three great publishing cities of the Union are 
Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. From the 
first and last of these places I have seen some very 
* respectable specimens of typography ; but, in gene- 
ral, the reprints of English works are executed in 
the coarsest and most careless manner. It is quite a 
mistake to suppose that books are cheaper in the 
United States than in England. If there were no 
copyright, and the British public would be content 
to read books printed in the most wretched manner 
on whitey-brown paper, there can be no doubt that 
the English bibliopole would beat his American bro- 
ther out of the field. A proof of this is, that the 
British editions of works of which the copyright 


has expired, are quite as cheap, and much superior 
in execution, to those produced in this country. 
. Copyright in the United States is not enjoyable 
by a foreigner, though an American can hold it in 
England. The consequence is, that an English 
author derives no benefit from the republication of 
his work in America, while every Englishman who 
purchases the work of an American, is taxed in order 
to put money in the pocket of the latter. There is 
no reciprocity in this ; and it is really not easy to 
see why Mr Washington Irving or Mr Cooper should 
enjoy greater privileges in this country than are 
accorded to Mr Bulwer or Mr Theodore Hook in the 
United States. There is an old proverb, " What is 
good for the goose is good for the gander," which 
will be found quite as applicable to the policy of 
Parliament as the practice of the poultry-yard. It is 
to be hoped this homely apophthegm will not escape 
the notice of the Government, and that by an act of 
signal justice, (the abolition of American copyright 
in England,) it will compel the United States to 
adopt a wiser and more liberal system. 

All novels, good, bad, and indifferent, which ap- 


pear in England, seem to be reprinted in this coun- 
try. Indeed, the American appetite in this respect 
is apparently quite as indiscriminate as our own. 
A good deal also of the more valuable British 
literature issues from the Philadelphia press, but 
in the most democratic form. I have been some- 
times amused at observing the entire transmogrifica- 
tion undergone by one of Mr Murray's hot-pressed 
and broad-margined volumes under the hands of an 
American bookseller. It enters his shop a three 
guinea quarto ; it comes out a four and twopenny 
duodecimo. The metamorphosis reminds one of a 
lord changing clothes with a beggar. The man is 
the same, but he certainly owes nothing to the 

The Americans are as jealous on the subject of 
their literature as on other matters of national pre- 
tension. The continual importation of European 
books contributes to excite a consciousness of infe- 
riority which is by no means pleasant. There are 
many projects afloat for getting rid of this mental 
bondage, and establishing intellectual independence. 
By one party it is proposed to exclude English works 


altogether, and forbid their republication under a 
high penalty. " Americans," say the advocates of 
this system, '' will never write books, when they can 
be had so cheaply from England. Native talent is 
kept under ; it wants protection against the compe- 
tition Of foreign genius. Give it the monopoly of 
the home market ; deal with intellect as you do with 
calico and broad-cloth, and do not prematurely 
force our literary labourers into a contest with 
men enjoying the advantages of larger libraries, 
learning, and leisure." In short, what these gentle- 
men want is, that ignorance and barbarism should 
be established by legislative enactment, a policy 
which, till America has suffered more than she has 
yet done from the inroads of knowledge, will pro- 
bably strike a foreigner as somewhat gratuitous. 

If the American legislature, however, has not done 
this, it has certainly done what is something akin 
to it. A duty of thirty cents, or about fifteen pence 
a-pound, is charged on all imported books, which, in 
every point of view, is highly injudicious. In the 
first place, American books require no protection, 
because the expense of copyright, and of transport, 


is far more than enough to secure to native book- 
sellers the undisturbed possession of their own mar- 
ket. When a book is of a character to lead to re- 
publication in the United States, of course the only 
effect of the duty is to force those, who might wish 
handsomer and better copies, to furnish their li- 
braries with inferior material. The number of these 
however, w^ould be found very smalL In this coun- 
try, when a book is once read, it is cast aside and 
thought of no more. In comparatively few instances, 
is it bound and consigned to the shelves of the book- 
case, and therefore it is, that the purchasers of books 
almost uniformly prefer the very cheapest form. The 
injurious effect, however, of the duty on imported 
works, is felt with regard to those which, although 
valuable, are not of a character to repay the cost of 
republication. The duty in all such cases acts not 
as a protection— for when the book is not reprinted 
there is nothing to protect— but as a tax upon know- 
ledge ; or, in other words, a premium for the perpe- 
tuation of ignorance. 

During my stay at Philadelphia, I frequently 
visited the courts of law. The proceedings I hap- 


pened to witness were in nothing remarkable, and I 
have already described the externals of an American 
Court. It is not unusual among the lower orders 
in England, when any knotty point is proposed for 
discussion, to say it would " puzzle a Philadelphia 
lawyer." To do this, however, it must be knotty 
indeed, for I have never met a body of men more 
distinguished by acuteness and extensive profes- 
sional information than the members of the Phila- 
delphia bar. 

In the American courts there is much tacit respect 
paid to English decisions, each volume of which is. 
reprinted in this country as soon as it appears. In- 
deed, but for these, law in America would soon 
become an inextricable jumble. It is impossible to 
expect much harmony of decision from twenty-four 
independent tribunals, unless there exist some com- 
mon land-marks to serve as guides to opinion. Even 
as it is, the most anomalous discrepancies occur 
between the decisions of the different State Courts ; 
but without a constant influx of English authori- 
ties, the laws regarding property would be speedily 


overcast by such a mass of contradictory precedents 
as to be utterly irrevocable to any system. 

The low salaries of the judges constitute matter of 
general complaint among the members of the bar, 
both at Philadelphia and New York. These are so 
inadequate, when compared with the income of a 
well-employed barrister, that the State is deprived 
of the advantage of having the highest legal talent on 
the bench. Men from the lower walks of the pro- 
fession, therefore, are generally promoted to the 
office, and for the sake of a wretched saving of a few 
thousand dollars, the public are content to submit 
their lives and properties to the decision of men of 
inferior intelligence and learning. 

In one respect, I am told the very excess of demo- 
cracy defeats itself. In some States the judges are 
so inordinately underpaid, that no lawyer, who does 
not possess a considerable private fortune, can afford 
to accept the office. From this circumstance some- 
thing of aristocratic distinction has become con- 
nected with it, and a seat on the bench is now more 
greedily coveted than it would be, were the salary 
more commensurate with the duties of the situation. 

VOL. I. 2 k 


All lawyers with whom I have conversed agree, 
that the discrepancy between the laws of the. differ- 
ent States is productive of much injury. The 
statutes of one State are often defeated in the tribu- 
nals of another, when not in accordance with the 
tone of public opinion in the latter. A laxity thus 
arises in the administration of municipal law incom- 
patible with good government. The criminal codes 
are likewise highly discordant, and from the variety 
of j urisdictions, the probability of crime being follow- 
ed by punishment is much diminished. When a man 
guilty of an offence in one State escapes into another, 
he can only be apprehended on the formal demand 
of the executive authority of the State having juris- 
diction of the crime. Before the necessary machinery, 
however, can be set at work, he has generally time 
and opportunity for a second evasion, and it thus 
often happens that the ends of justice are entirely 

There can be no doubt that the want of unifor- 
mity in the administration of justice, is injurious 
both to public morals and private security But the 
evil is one naturally arising from tlie political sub- 


divisions of the Union, and for which, with the 
jealousy which prevails of the jurisdiction of the 
federal government, it is perhaps impossible to devise 
a remedy. With so many co- existent and independ- 
ent legislatures, uniformity of legislation is impos- 
sible, and we can only hope that in the growing 
political experience of American statesmen, the evil 
may be diminished, though there exist no prospect 
of its being entirely removed. 

Philadelphia may be called the Bath of the United 
States, and many individuals who have amassed for- 
tunes in other parts of the Union, select it as the 
place of their residence. Money-getting is not here 
the furious and absorbing pursuit of al ranks and 
conditions of men. On the contrary, every thing 
goes on quietly. The people seem to dabble in busi- 
ness, rather than follow it with that impetuous 
energy observable in other cities. The truth is, that 
a large portion of the capital of the Philadelphians 
is invested in New York, where there is ample field 
for its profitable employment. The extent of their 
own trafiic is limited, and in this respect I should 
imagine it to be inferior even to Boston. But, in 


point of opulence, Philadelphia is undoubtedly first 
city of the Union. It is the great focus of American 
capital, the pecuniary reservoir which fills the various 
channels of profitable enterprise. 

In Philadelphia it is the fashion to be scien- 
tific, and the young ladies occasionally display the 
has bleu, in a degree, which in other cities would be 
considered rather alarming. I remember at a din- 
ner party, being instructed as to the component parts 
of the atmosphere by a fair spinster, who anticipated 
the approach of a period when oxygen would super- 
sede champagne, and young gentlemen and ladies 
would hob or nob in gas. The vulgar term drunk 
would then give place to inflated^ certainly more 
euphonious to ears polite, and the coarser stimulants, 
such as alcohol and tobacco, in all their forms and 
uses, be regarded with contempt. 

There is no American city in which the system of 
exclusion is so rigidly observed as in Philadelphia. 
The ascent of a parvenu into the aristocratic circle is 
slow and difficult. There is a sort of holy alliance 
between its members to forbid all unauthorized 
approach. Claims are canvassed, and pretensions 


weighed ; manners, fortune, tastes, habits, and 
descent, undergo a rigid examination ; and from 
the temper of the judges, the chances are, that the 
final oscillation of the scale, is unfavourable to the 
reception of the candidate. I remember being pre- 
sent at a party, of which the younger members 
expressed a strong desire to enliven the dulness of 
the city, by getting up a series of public balls. The 
practicability of this project became matter of ge- 
neral discussion, and it was at length given up, 
simply because there were many families confess- 
edly so respectable as to afford no tangible ground 
for exclusion, and yet so unfashionable as to render 
their admission a nuisance of the first magnitude. 

I have already alluded to the existence of this 
aristocratic feeling in New York, but it certainly is 
there far less prevalent than in Philadelphia. This 
may easily be accounted for. In the former city, 
the vicissitudes of trade, the growth and dissipation 
of opulence, are far more rapid. Rich men spring 
op like mushrooms. Fortunes are made and lost by 
a single speculation. A man may go to bed at night 
worth less than nothing, and pull off his nightcap 



in the morning with some hundred thousand dollars 
waiting his acceptance. There is comparatively no 
settled and permanent body of leading capitalists, 
and consequently less room for that sort of defen- 
sive league which naturally takes place among men 
of common interests and position in society. 

In Philadelphia, on the other hand, the pursuits, 
of commerce are confined within narrower limits. 
There is no field for speculation on a great scale, 
and the regular trade of the place is engrossed by 
old established houses, which enjoy a sort of pre^ 
scriptive confidence, against which younger esta- 
blishments, however respectable, find it in vain to 
contend. The keener, and more enterprising traders, 
therefore, generally remove to New York, and Phi- 
ladelphia continues comparatively untroubled by 
those fluctuations of wealth, which impede any per- 
manent and effective union among its aristocracy. 

In society in Philadelphia, I had the good fortune 
to meet the Count de Survilliers, better known by 
the untitled name of Joseph Bonaparte. This per- 
sonage has purchased an estate in the neighbour- 
hood, and by his simplicity and benevolence of cha- 


racter, has succeeded in winning golden opinions 
from all classes of Americans. He often visits 
Philadelphia, and mingles a good deal in the society 
of the place. In the party where I first met him, 
a considerable time elapsed before I was aware of 
the presence of a person so remarkable. He was at 
length pointed out to my observation, with an offer 
of introduction which I thought proper to decline : 
being aware, that in a work with which he was pro- 
bably unacquainted, I had spoken of hi'm in a man- 
ner, which, whether just or otherwise, made it 
indelicate that I should be obtruded on his notice. 

Joseph Bonaparte, in person, is about the middle 
height, but round and corpulent. In the form of 
his head and features there certainly exists a resem- 
blance to Napoleon, but in the expression of the 
countenance there is none. I remember, at the Per- 
gola theatre of Florence, discovering Louis Bona- 
parte from his likeness to the Emperor, which is 
very striking, but I am by no means confident that 
I should have been equally successful with Joseph. 
There is nothing about him indicative of high intel- 
lect. His eye is dull and heavy; his manner un- 


graceful and deficient in tliat ease and dignity which 
we vulgar people are apt to number among the ne- 
cessary attributes of majesty. But Joseph was not 
bred to kingcraft, and seems to have been forced 
into it rather as a sort of political stop gap, than from 
any particular aptitude or inclination for the duties 
of sovereignty. I am told he couA^erses without any 
appearance of reserve on the circumstances of his 
short and troubled reign — if reign, indeed, it can be 
called — in Spain. He attributes more than half his 
misfortunes, to the jealousies and intrigues of tlia 
unruly marshals, over whom he could exercise no 
authority. He admits the full extent of his unpo- 
pularity, but claims credit for a sincere desire to 
benefit the people. 

One circumstance connected with his deportment 
I particularly remember. The apartment was warm, 
and the ex-king evidently felt it so ; for taking out 
his pockethandkerchief, he deliberately mopped his 
bald " discrowned head," with a hand which one 
would certainly have guessed to have had more con- 
nexion with a spit than a sceptre. 

I remained a fortnight waiting for a change of 


weather, but it never came. The roads, however, 
had become quite practicable for travelling, and I at 
length determined on departure. At five o'clock in 
the morning I accordingly drove to Market Street, 
where I took possession of a place in a sleigh shaped 
like an omnibus, which contained accommodation 
for about as many passengers. The snow lay deep 
on the ground, and the weather was cold in the 
extreme. After some delay the vehicle got into 
motion, and when we reached the Schuylkill, which is 
crossed by a wooden bridge of very curious mechan- 
ism, I looked back on the Quaker city, yet glimmer- 
ing in tlie distance, and bade farewell to it for ever. 



Date Due 


H221A V,l